Director: Doug Liman
Cast: Sarah Polley, Katie Holmes, Desmond Askew, Timothy Olyphant, William Fichtner, Scott Wolf, Jay Mohr, J. E Freeman, Nathan Bexton, Taye Diggs
Plot: Ronna (Polley) is short on money to pay the rent, so she hatches a scheme to double cross a dealer and sell pills, a plan that quickly spirals out of control.
I usually like movies like Go. I love the idea of a movie that starts off being one thing and then, just when you have settled into story, it hits you with a twist and the movie turns out to be much bigger than you thought it was. The best way to describe Go is that it is essentially three short films that interconnect with each other at several points. These are usually quite good movies, but Go is missing a spark that struggles to keep this movie afloat.
Maybe it is just not as smart as it thinks it is. The three stories are fun in their own way (however, the final one is a bit naff and its only purpose is to answer that shocking twist I mentioned above), but they aren’t quite as interlinked as you want them to be. It feels like the writers came up with a few good set-pieces and dragged through the bottom of the barrel to make up excuses to tie them all together. The first and second story are connected because the main character from each one (Polley and Askew) are co-workers, but other than that the only connection is a credit card that comes to play right at the very end. Admittedly that credit card does grant the film its best joke, but the entire second story feels like a totally different film. We go from a film about drug-pushing and crossing dealers to a Hangover-esque adventure in Vegas. In many ways, the second story is just that little bit more exciting than the first (while the first is my favourite, it does take a while to get going), but it still feels so distant from everything else we have just watched that you wonder where Liman is going with this film. The third story is a little anti-climactic. It feels less of a story and more of a character arc from the two characters you almost forgot about, tied together by a bunch of jokes. When that is all over, there is a few closing scenes that attempt to tie everything up, but there isn’t really enough to tie up, so it feels like an obligatory explanation, rather than the clever ta-da moment I think everyone was going for.
Go is an interesting one to review, because it keeps almost tricking me into thinking that this is a good film. Quite a lot of the time, I found myself enjoying it or being impressed with certain camera tricks with the director or the jokes. The acting is very easy to compliment. Everyone does a great job delivering their lines and getting the right emotions across. Sarah Polley gets the right balance of ‘ruthless bitch’ and just likeable enough to root for throughout her act in the story. Timothy Olyphant is the drug dealer that, for all intents and purposes, is the bad guy of the piece, but he never really feels like that. However, when you reflect on the performances a little later, you realise that they only really had half a character to work with in the first place. Katie Holmes drifts around the story like a lost lamb and when the script calls on her to deliver a performance, she does, but she doesn’t quite fit into the story. The same goes for quite a few of the characters here. This is where the comedy comes in, because a few good jokes can hide these problems. You forget that Desmond Askew hasn’t got a character arc, because we are too busy laughing at what his crazy character is getting up to in Vegas. However, if anyone is willing to pause and think about Go, it begins to flake away.
I always remembered liking this movie and I think you will come away from this movie being glad you took the time to watch it. Yes, it’s a little below what we are all expecting and yes, it isn’t the best movie out there, but it has just enough great scenes to stick in the memory. The black comedy is terrific, making you laugh at the absurdity of some of the situations on display. Two actors pretend they are rehearsing a scene to help them get over the fact they are hiding a dead body. Timothy Olyphant helps resolve a dispute in the most hilarious fashion. Perhaps the best scene is from one of the lesser characters, Ronna’s friend, who accidentally overdoses and spends most of the first third of the movie, tripping. Some of the quick breaks in the story to have a peek at his perspective of everything is hilarious, especially a dance routine in the local supermarket that will stay with you long after this movie has ended.
Final Verdict: Go is a bad movie, but is clever enough at hiding it. Weak story aside, the performances and direction is good enough to earn forgiveness.