My Rating:

Sheer Video Perfection!

Bitable Bytes:
"[An] exciting slice of action!"
"Scary and gritty, dark and hip!"
"A very precise balance between charm and psychosis!"
"An excellent choice!"

What to do while watching:
Just watch. If you have to take a call or go to the bathroom, pause it.

What to eat while watching:
A good bottle of beer (over $5 per six-pack), or if you're under age, or don't drink spirits, sip a Thomas Kemper Root Beer or Cream Soda. (Alternately, Pyramid provides both excellent beer and excellent soft drinks, appropriate to consume while viewing this film.)


From the director of Swingers comes this exciting slice of action from the lives of six too-hip young people in Anytown, U.S.A. The former movie was charming and humorous, light and hip. Go is scary and gritty, dark and hip. It's more engaging insofar as the intrigue is steady and continuous, playing upon several narrative archetypes that grip us humans by the back-brain and force our fascination: the gun, the party, the virgin, the car chase, the strip club, etc. Each aspect of the film is like a bomb waiting to go off. Though we know that explosions will happen, the bang is still startling and plenty loud. As in Swingers, a lot of the action is set in Las Vegas, a town that effuses a dark, sinful fascination.

A study of six characters and their interrelations, Go manages to go into some depth at portraying each person, allowing us "normal" people to invest in their fates. To its credit, the film manages to create sympathy for every character in spite of the darkness each one harbors. The writer manages a very precise balance between charm and psychosis, manipulation and helplessness.

Take for example the drug dealer. Though clearly a "bad guy" to society, he turns out to be the most genuine person in the entire film, stating very clearly his needs and his anger. Despite the fact that he "never gives favors," he gives favors. Though he threatens violence, he receives good sex later in the film; but that gets stopped short like a karmic face slap. He's not a good guy either, and gets his fair share of comeuppance, getting ripped off several times during the film.

The "bad girl" is a manipulative con artist, and pretty much detestable for her actions. Yet, she's not all bad: she takes responsibility for her actions-even when she can't explain them. Also, the people she rips off are either criminals themselves or rubes who pretty much beg for it. We may dislike her, but the injury that befalls her makes the viewer sympathize with her plight and hope for her survival.

We get the British party-boy, the nerdy party-boy, and two gay actors thrown into the mix as well, and all are played with great awareness of the pull between the light and dark of humanity. One of the actors keeps saying, to the consternation of his partner, "Well, that went okay.Well, not perfect, but as good as can be expected." That gray area is where this narrative occurs-another reason Vegas, the ethical-gray-area capital of the world, is such an excellent choice of settling.

The supporting characters are also well painted. No lines are throwaways and no characters are "minor." Pretty much everyone who opens his or her mouth in the film has something significant to say. Even the strippers who are so seductive and fluttery-eyed, suddenly shift into totally other personae when they are inappropriately "handled."

The only heavy-handedness I felt was the insertion of a certain word into the script. I don't want to give this away because I'm wondering if other viewers will be sensitive to it without my prompting. If you see or have seen Go, please let me know if you noticed this phenomenon.

At any rate, this was extremely entertaining. Another plus is the depiction of the rave, catching, as we now expect from this film, both its plus and minus: its miraculous energy as well as its hoaky trappings. In this film, the viewer must bring his or her own opinions and predispositions to bear and examine them in the light of what happens. That's not a common thing for a film to do well.

PS: Not sure what to see? Do you maybe want to see a particular Eddie Murphy comedy, but can't decide if it's worth it? Let me find out for you! Just send me a note telling me what you'd like me to review, and I'll make sure to get to it in time for you to still find it on the shelf of your local video store. Happy viewing!

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