a critiQal film review Go (1999)

Plot: While her dealer friend Simon (Askew) is in Las Vegas for a wild and crazy weekend, Ronna (Polley) is asked by two guys, Adam (Wolf) and Zack (Mohr), to sell drugs to them. Ronna and her friends go over Simon’s head to his dealer (Olyphant) to buy the drugs. As Simon’s weekend unfolds, Adam and Zack’s story gets stranger and stranger, and Ronna and her friends go out on a wild night on the town. But who will survive the night?

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  • ...just another teen party movie.

From the preview and the little blurb on the back of the DVD, Go looked to be just another teen angst movie, trying to be “cool”. That much I expected. With a lot of movies being geared for teens now, and in the past, what would make this one interesting enough to be worth my time? Katie Holmes (of “Dawson’s Creek” (TV) fame) was a bit of a draw for me, I must admit. But, would she be able to sustain a movie by herself? Naw.

The second motivator for me was this was directed by Doug Liman, the same guy that directed Swingers. With those two factors working for the film, I figured it was worth a rental.

The characters performed well enough for their roles. Jay Mohr, who is usually the funnyman in his movies, played this one a little calmer, and pulled it off pretty well. Even on his bad days, he tends to muddle through his movies okay, so that wasn’t really a big surprise. Scott Wolf (“Party of Five” (TV)), whose never really impressed me as an actor, continues to un impress here, looking a bit confused and out of place most of the film.

The good part, though, is he’s supposed to look nervous and out of place in most of his scenes, so this flaw of his actually works well. Katie Holmes was a bit of a disappointment though.

Throughout the film, she seemed muted, as if she was trying to underplay the role, and succeeding a bit too much. It was a little sad watching her go through her scenes, since it didn’t look like she was trying to act very much at all. The real standout of this cast was Sarah Polley, who I’d never heard of before. She got through her scenes quickly and with no fuss, and really seemed to know her character’s somewhat odd motives very well.

The plot was actually split into three parts, which is sometimes hard for an audience to follow. The three stories are all intertwined together in at least one spot, and the director did a pretty good job of splitting them up, while keeping the audience tuned into what’s going on. The major trouble with this way of filming is the audience doesn’t know when the film is going to end. There isn’t really a climactic end sequence, it’s more of a wrapping up of various parts.

This style has gotten much more popular since Quentin Tarantino’s phenomenal success with Pulp Fiction (1994), which split up it’s storyline into a jumble of parts and kind of mixed them together. I don’t think this movie could have stood up to that kind of extreme treatment, but it did pretty good with just the three parts.

With a decent cast and some interesting storylines, Go was worth checking out. Is it a standout amongst the crowd of wild and crazy teen movies that are out there? Not really.

Swingers was an excellent film, and Go is a follow-up that doesn’t really compare…but wants to. The three separate storylines make the film much more interesting, and the director does try to get the audience into the film as much as possible, but doesn’t quite succeed.

I’d say Go is worth a couple of bucks to rent, but I wouldn’t buy it.

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