Go September 5, 2015
Widely known as being one of the best Pulp Fiction wannabes to adorn the walls of the late 1990s, Go is a winning ensemble black comedy that imitates the plot structure of the former but brings a new sort of spunk to all the convoluted madness. It’s all ersatz, youthful adventure rather than cutie-pie crime flickerings; it’s clever enough to stand alone, so long as you forget about the individual scenes that made Pulp Fiction so great and start realizing that a Tarantino knockoff gone right is a better knockoff than most.
Told from four perspectives, Go tells interconnecting stories of rebellion that bounce off grocery store clerks Ronna (Sarah Polley), Simon (Desmond Askew), and Claire (Katie Holmes). We’re first introduced to them just as Ronna is finishing up a torturous fourteen hour shift, which she volunteered for in desperation for some spare money — in a few days time, she’ll be evicted from her apartment. She’s under high stress and is about to sink into a deep depression. So she considers herself lucky in a sad kind of way after Simon, a British, small-time drug dealer, asks her to cover his shift so he can spend a wild weekend in Vegas with his pals. Though exhausted beyond belief, Ronna contends.
Not long into her spontaneous shift do two customers (Scott Wolf and Jay Mohr) make a quaintly unhesitant proposition — wanting to score some ecstasy, they offer her a couple hundred dollars to provide them with twenty or so hits. The idea of keeping her apartment is much too enticing to turn them down, so she does the obvious and heads in the direction of Simon’s drug dealer (Timothy Olyphant) for the goods. But things of course, go wrong, and so the film takes detours into Simon’s misadventures in Vegas, the real motives of Ronna’s ecstasy hungry customers, and the morning after all shit goes down the pooper and everyone finds themselves scrambling to make things pleasant again. Getting into serious trouble ain’t a living.
Go is the sort of film that encases the viewer in a waxing of delight as coincidences emerge and stories cross paths ingeniously — John August’s screenplay, chocked full of expected Pulp Fiction-esque cultural references and shining moments of witty exchanges, marks for some felicitous dialogue snappy and self-aware. Doug Liman’s direction is properly frenetic, matching the one-hundred-miles-a-minute sass of his screenwriter. Polley, the best player in the likable cast, is the right kind of scrappy, street smart in a less than methodical way.
But when Go isn’t enrapturing us with its gleeful concurrences and quick pop culture quips, it lives in the shadow of that 1994 masterpiece that shall not be named again. B