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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Go

Starring: Sarah Olley, Katie Holmes
Director: Doug Liman
Rated: R
RunTime: 103 Minutes
Release Date: April 1999
Genres: Comedy, Suspense

*Also starring: Timothy Haynes, Scott Wolf, Jay Mohr, Taye Diggs, J.E. Freeman, Breckin Meyer, Desmond Askew, William Fichtner

Review by Jerry Saravia
No Rating Supplied

I have become sickened by all the Tarantino rip-offs, too many to mention. Almost all have none of the grace, wit or humanity that dear Quentin invests in his own works. They are like well-designed wallpapers flung with graphic violence, countless obscenities, and numerous rock n' roll/rap songs and packaged as something shocking and new. Some star Michael Madsen, Martin Sheen or Dennis Hopper. "Out of Sight" was the most dazzling but that had the advantage of a great author, Elmore Leonard, as its basis, and Steven Soderbergh, a stylish director. The new "Go" is different - it's as symmetrically close to "Pulp Fiction" as you can imagine but it has an electric energy and volume all its own.

The film begins with a supermarket checkout girl named Ronna (soft-voiced and droopy-eyed Sarah Polley from "Sweet Hereafter") who establishes a drug connection for two handsome soap opera stars, Adam (Scott Wolf) and Zack (Jay Mohr). Ronna's drug of choice is ecstasy, which one member of her elite group nearly overdoses on and imagines speaking to a cat with Zen subtitles. Ronna has to deal with the seedy drug dealer, Todd (Timothy Olyphant), who has a propensity for sexual favors. But when her good friend, Claire (Katie Holmes), another supermarket checkout girl, is left alone with this devil, things truly go haywire.

After Ronna's predicament, we flash back to the beginning of the story told from the point-of-view of a thick-accented, red-haired Brit, Simon (Desmond Askew). Simon is a drug connection for Todd (Ronna is the replacement) and goes off to Vegas with his pals, including the suave Marcus (Taye Diggs) and a stoner who thinks he's black, Tiny (Breckin Meyer - always the pothead). Unfortunately, after a debacle involving backroom lap-dancers ("Do not touch!"), they are now on the run from a vicious gangster (the terrifically oily J.E. Freeman). And it is here where we experience one of the most dazzling car chases ever filmed to the tune of Steppenwolf's "Magic Carpet Ride."

Then the story flashes back again and we see the story told from the point-of-view of the two soap opera stars, who are working undercover under the tutelage of the Teutonic cop Burke (William Fichtner), a character that makes you squirm. Burke invites the pair to a Christmas dinner that is fraught with misunderstandings and unclear intentions. Let's just say it is a howler of a sequence, guaranteed to keep you laughing at its inevitable payoff.

The characters, as well as the audience, experience one near-catastrophe after another, and all the characters seem intent to make a whole 24-hour, Rashomon-like experience as dangerously exciting as possible with no inhibitions - they will do absolutely anything for thrills. There are gangsters, awry drug deals, dances to the tune of "Macarena," distorted visions, extreme violence, conversations about Tantric sex and the comic "The Family Circus," and lots more to feast the eyes and the ears.

"Go" is suffused with electric energy throughout - there is not a moment that is not thrilling or kinetic in any way. Director Doug Liman ("Swingers") frames his charismatic actors with tension abounding every step of the way by means of a constantly roving camera. The opening titles show a stroboscopic club where silhouetted patrons dance the night away in light blue hues, and the editing is lightning-paced. This brilliantly sets up the rest of the film's pace, and sometimes Liman will slow down long enough to study the actor's faces.

I enjoyed all the actors on screen, but Sarah Polley has a dole-like quality that is more realistic than the cardboard teens shown in other films - I could not stop looking at her. Katie Holmes displays a sensuousness and a charm that made me swoon. I also liked the merry soul of Taye Diggs, a definite star-in-the-making.

"Go" may remind many of "Pulp Fiction," but this film has its own momentum, and plenty of style to spare. It's a crazy film that will keep you on edge - funny, energetic, joyous, jolting, ironic, and tense. You can't ask for a better time at the movies.

Copyright 1999 Jerry Saravia

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