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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 5, 2000 | E-mail the Author
"Swingers" director Doug Liman has made what is simply the most enjoyably wild ride of the new year so far. The story(or three interconnecting stories, actually) center around a gang of young adults spending another night out on the streets, wired on whatever they can find, trying to experience every second of what life has to offer once midnight rolls by and the early hours of the morning make themselves known.

It's the endless energy that carries the film, mainly supplied by Liman's camerawork. He not only directed the film but was the cinematographer as well, and his work with the camera is fascinating to watch. He pulls out every possible trick; changing up speed and style at a moment's notice. The thrill is the involvement: every shot literally throws the audience into the middle of the action. We are involved, we are there. We are fascinated.

The story starts off introducing us to Ronna("The Sweet Hereafter"'s Sarah Polley), a checkout cashier who finds herself in the middle of a drug deal gone wrong. She's about to be evicted if she can't score enough cash to cover her rent. She finds herself trying to score drugs for a couple of visiting soap opera stars to get enough money; the cashier who usually gets them drugs is gone, so Ronna thinks that she can make a quick dollar or two, taking friend Claire(Katie Holmes) along for the ride. That's just the begining as "Go" works through stories and then loops back on itself, working forward again, spinning into the night with reckless energy as we follow these characters through the darkness.

The first act following Ronna and Claire is fueled by the acting. Holmes and Polley work well back and forth; Polley radiates intensity as Ronna, her eyes constantly searching out the truth in every environment, her eyes showing that the character has layer upon layer underneath the surface; she looks as if she's constantly planning her next move and it's a compliment to Polley's outstanding performance that I was on the edge of my seat waiting for her next move to be revealed. Holmes as Claire is the direct opposite, all soft movements and shy, lovely beauty.

The second half is fueled by dry, wonderfully hilarious comedy. It follows another one of the Supermarket workers, British kid Simon and a gang of friends out for a vacation to Las Vegas. This part of the film is a lively, raunchy and hilarious journey, full of over-the-top adventures.

I'll leave you to find out the rest of the details on your own, but I will say that the only "story" that doesn't quite work is the final one, focusing on how the two soap opera stars(Jay Mohr and Scott Wolf) came into the story. It doesn't have the intensity that was called upon from the actors in the first story and it doesn't have the wild energy and comedic performances that were called for in the second act. More than that, the third story at times is just a little too strange. But the film is wrapped up with the same kind of visual thrill, comedy and energy that went into the best parts of the main body of the film.

First time writer John August's three seperate stories weave into each other flawlessly; the dialogue is wild, energetic and at times, very funny. The Vegas story especially has a few riotously hilarious moments and again, it's Liman's camerawork that completes the equation, throwing us into the middle of every scene. It's not "Pulp Fiction", it's something that has a thrilling and fascinating pace all its own; the film moves like the wind, carrying us through these three stories with a wired, magnificent, wild speed that's like nothing we've seen lately at the movies. The music ads to the already wonderful impact; the electronic soundtrack thumps out from all sides, putting the speaker system at the local theater to it's limit. There's even a car chase set to the groove of "Magic Carpet Ride". The film piles on the thrills and energy and hardly ever is it not an absolutely electrifying cinematic experience.

Acting is excellent across the board. Holmes and Polley are both wonderful; Taye Diggs along with the rest of those who go to Vegas are all excellent with very good comedic performances. Desmond Askew is also very funny as Simon. Technically, the film is very well done; as I've mentioned, Liman's work here as director and cinematographer is nothing short of perfection. Work by the sound department is also excellent; the music is presented excellently with a thrillingly intense volume.

It's really too bad that this film did not get more notice at the box office. "Go" is simply the most intense, fun and entertaining experience I've had at the movies this year. Performances are especially good in a movie that tries to make every moment a thrill ride of its own. It may not always succeed flawlessly, but there are so many scenes of "Go" that work so thrillingly well it's very hard to complain.

The DVD VIDEO: Outstanding 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer- Tristar has done some outstanding work before, but this is definitely among their top efforts(there is also a full-frame edition). Colors are absolutely pure, natural and vibrant throughout with deep, rich hues. Colors are definitely well-saturated as well, with no instances of color bleeding. Images remain consistently sharp and clear throughout, with excellent detail. Interiors and exteriors both look great and even night scenes are very well defined. Contrast and shadow detail are both nicely rendered as well. Flesh tones are natural and accurate throughout. This is a image that's at times stunning and very "film-like" looking excellent throughout. There's no artifacts- no pixelization, aliasing or problems with the print at all- all adding up for a completely clean and finely detailed image that's a pleasure to watch.

SOUND: I saw "Go" at an older local theater and it nearly blew the roof clear off the theater. Probably the most incredibly well-recorded musical score of the year, the sound mix full of rock and techno has some amazing and occasionally floor shaking bass. Every speaker simply rocks at times with the score, which sounds completely clean, clear and very loud. The rave scenes have an incredibly impressive "you-are-there" feel as the music echos and thumps. There's a lot of nice amibent sounds as well that sound crystal clear. This is just an enveloping, excellent sound mix, especially when the music is present. Dialogue is fine as well, sounding clear and never compressed or thin.

MENUS: Pretty basic, but easily navigated main menus.


Commentary: Relaxed and informative commentary by director Doug Liman and editor Stephen Mirricone. The two talk in detail about the production and go into detail about how they built certain scenes like the hotel room fire(which makes for quite an interesting story) and the way that they built the pieces into the greater whole and saw the film's sort of energy coming together. The discussion also takes a turn into discussing how the actors became involved with the film. Interesting as well are the discussions about Liman's work on the film not only directing, but doing the cinematography as well. This isn't really the most energetic commentary, but it certainly succeeds in being informative about the general way that these two built what I consider one of the year's best pictures.

Deleted Scenes:: Some of these are more like outtakes rather than whole deleted scenes, but still, they're interesting to watch. Nothing here that really should have ended up in the picture. The 5th scene is an especially funny bit of ad-libbing and the 12th scene is a rather interesting variation on a scene, but other than that, there's not anything major. There's 14 deleted scenes/outtakes in all included.

Music Videos:: Len's "Steal My Sunshine", No Doubt's "New" and the video for "Magic Carpet Ride" that features members of the cast.

Trailer: The film's trailer(letterboxed at 1.85:1)

Featurette: The usual short featurette with interviews from the cast and crew.

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Highly Recommended

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