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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover

Go (1999)


Starring: Sarah Polley, Desmond Askew, Scott Wolf and Katie Holmes
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 18
Available 03 August 2009

When Ronna runs into a problem with her rent the option for covering a colleges shift at the local supermarket seems like an ideal opportunity, especially when it turns out he does a little dealing on the side. When a couple of punters come into the store Ronna can’t believe her luck and decides to spend her last two hundred bucks making a drug deal which will resolve her financial problems. However, like all great plans, when the details start to go wrong, you’re in real trouble...

Go (1999 - 1 hr, 41 min, 56 sec) is a stylish dark comedy film directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity (2002), Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Jumper (2008)) from a script by John August (Titan A.E. (2000), Big Fish (2003), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)) and with those credentials you’d be right to think that this is a little rough diamond that you may have missed out the first time around. The film won five awards and was nominated for a further seven.

Any modern non-linear film, with a lot of contemporary pop culture references, will be immediately compared to Pulp Fiction (1994), so let’s get that out of the way. Yes there are similarities, but the totality of the film creates a world which is all its own. The film is essentially told in three parts, the first being Ronna’s story. Hard up for rent, Ronna (Sarah Polley) thinks that a quick drug deal, with local scary man Todd (Timothy Olyphant) will solve all her problems. To this end she drags in her friend Clair (Katie Holmes) and Mannie (Nathan Bexton). Meanwhile Simon (Desmond Askew), the local dealer that Ronna is covering for, is off to Vegas with a bunch of friends. Whilst there he fortunately sleeps with two women, but unfortunately sets fire to a hotel room, shoots a bouncer and flees the county, all with Todd’s stolen credit card. The last section, which eventually draws the whole story together, involves Adam (Scott Wolf) and Zack (Jay Mohr), who having been caught with drugs are being used by the police on a sting. Unfortunately Simon is out of town and so they approach Ronna.

Even given the quality of the writer and director I’m not sure why I wasn’t really expecting much from the film, maybe I was expecting another teen no-brainer movie which made drugs look fun. Well, okay, it does do the last one. But what you get is a complex intelligent script which drips obsidian with dark humour. The whole thing is like watching a car crash in slow motion. At the time the film was made, it was supposed to be an independent production, but obviously someone at Columbia saw its quality and threw the weight of a large studio behind it. Odd then that, on the film’s release, it was lauded by critics but pretty much ignored by audiences.

The cast was predominantly made up from television actors, but they all turn in respectable performances, though the girls roles are not as strong as they could be. It’s difficult to say who I enjoyed the most. I did start to write a list only to discover it covered the whole cast.

The film has Dolby trueHD 5.1 tracks in English, German and French, with optional subtitles for a further twelve languages. The full length commentary has optional subtitles for either English or French. Talking of which the full length commentary, by director Doug Liman and editor Stephen Mirrione, is a relaxed number - these men obviously get along well - which looks at some amusing insights and a discussion about some of the technical issues. The menu is a real pig here and I found it impossible to select this option from the Blu-ray menu. In the end I resorted to changing it through the remote. I’m not sure if this is a fault of the review copy or of the final product.

We have the inevitable Making Of Featurette (6 min, 20 sec) which big ups the film but tells you very little. It’s the kind of fluffy stuff we’ve come to expect being touted as a making of, which actually doesn’t deal with the making of. There are three music videos "New" by No Doubt (4 min, 32 sec), "Magic Carpet Ride" by Philip Steir (3 min, 22 sec), which has the cast pretending to be the band, at least I presume that is the case as I’ve never heard of Steir, and 2Steal my Sunshine" by Len (3 min, 56 sec) possibly the best known song from the soundtrack. There is a whole bunch of deleted scenes (25 min, 26 sec), fifteen in all, and for the most part you can see why they hit the cutting room floor. There are a couple of gems hidden away, but this section goes on so long that I was tempted to turn it off out of boredom. Once again there is the option for extra content through BD live but none of this was available at the time of review.

I missed the film the first time around and now I’ve seen it I’m sorry I did. The cast is full of young talent, delivering a good script. Whilst the film was an enjoyable experience I couldn’t help but feel that the extras let it down a bit. There’s something amiss when your biggest extra, not counting the commentary, is the deleted scenes.


Charles Packer

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