Combustible Celluloid
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With: Sarah Polley, Katie Holmes, Taye Diggs, J.E. Freeman, William Fichtner, Scott Wolf, Natasha Melnick, Breckin Meyer, Desmond Askew, James Duval, Jane Krakowski, Jay Mohr, Katharine Towne, Nathan Bexton, Timothy Olyphant, Melissa McCarthy, Tony Denman
Written by: John August
Directed by: Doug Liman
MPAA Rating: R for strong drug content, sexuality, language and some violence
Running Time: 103
Date: 04/07/1999

Go (1999)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Go, the new movie written by first-timer John August and directed by DougLiman (Swingers) is the best Pulp Fiction rip-off in a long time. But even ifGo had come first on the cultural landscape, I don't think it would have hadthe impact of Pulp Fiction, because it lacks the absolute thrill of filmmakingitself. It's a little too rigid.

Go is populated with actors from a myriad of television shows that I don't watch, so I didn't recognize any of them save Jay Mohr (Jerry Maguire). The movie focuses on four of these characters, split into three segments taking place late at night on Christmas Eve. First is Ronna (Sarah Polley, The Sweet Hereafter), who works at a crummy supermarket and is on her third consecutive 8-hour shift. She is approached by two clean-cut types (Mohr and Scott Wolf, TV's "Party of Five") to buy drugs. From there, things take several unforeseen twists and turns, involving an evil drug lord (Timothy Olyphant, Scream 2), and soon Ronna and her friend Claire (Katie Holmes, TVs "Dawson's Creek") in over her head, at a nightclub selling aspirin disguised as Ecstasy.

The second story begins with Simon (newcomer Desmond Askew), a co-worker at the supermarket, as he takes off for an evening of fun in Las Vegas. That night, too, turns bad in a hurry, involving a bouncer at a strip club, a borrowed credit card, a stolen car, and a stolen gun. Finally, we return to Mohr and Wolf, who turn out to be actors pinched by the cops and forced to help out with a drug bust. The rest of the movie includes disposing of dead bodies, taking drugs, strippers, car chases, and a few other late-night activities.

The movie also reminded me of Martin Scorsese's 1985 After Hours, in which poor Griffin Dunne goes out for a night in New York and finds himself unable to get home. That movie was frenzied, but it took the time to paint its world with bizarre fringe characters to give the night-time a whole different feel from the daytime. After Hours has Dick Miller playing a coffee shop jockey who says, "when it's this late, there's a whole new set of rules." I wish Go had had some kind of system of definition for its nighttime world. It felt too enclosed; its world was too small. However, I did like it for its sense of danger and its inventive borrowing from Pulp Fiction.

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