When you see the Duplass Brothers title card in the opening credits of Sean Baker’s Tangerine, instantly you know you’re in for something unconventional, as filmmakers who encourage creativity and pushing the boundaries, intent on trying new, exciting means of storytelling. Tangerine is no different, as a resourceful, innovative picture that gives a voice to a community that are generally without one in mainstream cinema.

Transgender prostitute Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) has recently been released from prison, and has learnt from her close friend – and co-worker, Alexandra (Mya Taylor), that her pimp boyfriend Chester (James Ransone) has been cheating on her. Furious to hear he’s been going behind her back with the culpable Dinah (Mickey O’Hagan) – Sin-Dee tears her way through the unforgiving streets of Los Angeles to confront the pair, on a tempestuous Christmas Eve – while Armenian cab driver Razmik (Karren Karagulian) is on an escapade of his own, to track down Sin-Dee for some x-rated fun, away from his wife and child at home.

Following on from his preceding endeavour Starlet, yet again Baker has managed to explore the LA underbelly, in a heightened, if somewhat authentic portrayal of the world that exists. He’s going against the cinematic romanticism surrounding Hollywood, the Sunset Boulevards, or the Beverley Hills mansions – Baker is showing us the real city, or at least a very real side to it. Starlet through the perspective of a fledging porn star, and this time through the eyes of a transgender prostitute.

The film is noteworthy for being shot on an iPhone too, and while undoubtedly a resourceful way to present this narrative, inevitably there’s a low-quality aesthetic that comes as a result. Though while a trend you may not want to see continued, it suits the spontaneous, fly-on-the-wall approach Baker has taken, as though we’re following these events through an underground documentary filmmaker, getting behind the facade, and the romanticism – and discovering the grittier side to the streets of LA. It also shows off a side to the city we can recognise, as it all seems so real – mostly because so many of us perceive places now through the lens of our smart phones, it’s an aesthetic we can identify with.

For Baker, while commendable for his inclination for creativity, it does feel like his attempts to be subversive are somewhat contrived in parts, as while superfluously depicting hardcore pornography in Starlet, and now by shooting on an iPhone, you can’t help but feel that he’s attempting to deliberately go against the grain and to be controversial, to be talked about. But hey, even if that is the case, at least it’s different – and where contemporary cinema is concerned, different is good.