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Go (1999) March 31, 2005

Posted by Dragan Antulov in Film Reviews.
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A Film Review

Copyright Dragan Antulov 2005

In second half of 1990s many filmmakers tried to repeat the success of Tarantino’s PULP FICTION by taking inspiration from its plot, characters or narrative structure. Few did so with less originality than Doug Liman in his 1999 black comedy GO and few were as successful as him.

Just like in PULP FICTION, plot of GO is non-linear and it is made out of three connected and crime-related stories taking place in Los Angeles in a span of 24 hours. Ronna (played by Sarah Polley) is a supermarket clerk who must quickly find few hundred dollars to pay the rent or spend Christmas Eve on the street. Because of that she is more than willing to fill in for Simon (played by Donald Askew), her colleague and part-time drug dealer who decided to spend Christmas in Las Vegas. It looks like a very good idea when two men – Adam (played by Scott Wolf) and Zack (played by Jay Mohr) – come to her store in order to buy twenty ecstasy pills. She makes a deal, but first she must get the stuff from Simon’s supplier Todd Gaines (played by Timothy Olyphant). Gaines doesn’t trust Ronna, so she tries to use her friend Claire Montgomery (played by Katie Holmes) as collateral.

Apart from non-linear structure, Liman also took other parts of Tarantino formula – black humour, pop culture references, explicit bloodletting and unapologetic drug abuse. Unfortunately, Liman couldn’t take other, more important elements of PULP FICTION like, for example, Tarantino’s talent to connect seemingly separate stories into coherent whole. John August’s script, which originally dealt only with Ronna, was broadened with two additional stories lacking humour and interesting characters.

However, all that didn’t matter much to movie’s target audience – Tarantino-worshipping youths who appreciated cynical, hedonistic and nihilistic worldview promoted in GO. They were also won over by a running time more suited to their average attention span, as well as MTV style of direction and “cool” soundtrack. But the greatest asset of the film were members of young cast, many, like Katie Holmes, a familiar faces to fans of teen-themed television dramas. They acted very well. This especially so in the case of Sarah Polley, which isn’t surprising, because her character is the protagonist of the film’s best segment. Unfortunately, good acting can’t transcend the derivative nature of this film and GO, despite being relatively popular in its time, is unlikely to match status of its ultimate inspiration.

RATING: 4/10 (+)

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