Go - rated - SIMMERING

Go See Go

Go is directed by Doug Liman, whose first film was a small film from 1996 called Swingers, which I've reviewed in these pages under "Films of 1997". I rated that film "Simmering" too. This is a more polished effort, but with the same biting insight into the way that young kids' minds work.

Or don't work, usually. The director says that the title, Go, refers to the fact that kids often don't think, they just do, or go. Liman's ability to focus on this level of society reminds me of another director. Most reviews have compared Liman to Quentin Tarantino (especially Pulp Fiction) and there are a lot of similarities. But those similarities, while striking, are mostly superficial. No, the director whose work Liman's films most remind me of is Whit Stillman (The Last Days of Disco (1998) Barcelona (1994) Metropolitan (1990). Stillman's work concerns Generation X - but Liman seems to be focusing on a few years below Generation X.

Liman's (and screenwriter John August's) people are closer to the ground than Tarantino's. They're less glamorous and more gritty. They are into drug deals and gunplay, but they're out of their depth - and so we care for them, in a way that we don't really care for Tarantino's people.

And the cast is up for it: the excellent Sarah Polley (The Sweet Hereafter, 1997, and Exotica, 1994, both Atom Egoyan and Existenz, David Cronenburg, 1999) is marvellously pouty as a quick-thinking and courageous girl with a hare-brained plan to make some money. Katie Holmes is surprisingly good in a slow-burn role, and William Fichter makes a bid to be the new James Woods when he plays a hyped-up cop with a secret obsession that's as sinister as any I've seen in the cinema - but only too believable.

The plot is all over the place, but the script and the performances are strong, the direction is assured and the cinematography excellent. Oh, and I bought the soundtrack.

So go see Go.