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GO

USA, 1998 (MIFF 1999, International Panorama)

Director: Doug Liman

Doug Liman is best known for his underrated, stylish and hilarious first feature, Swingers, about a group of narcissistic and self-obsessed Tinsel Town wannabes. It was during this film that he practised his chops and formulated the rapid-fire, dialogue-driven, neon-lit style that permeates Go. An excellent follow-up to Swingers, the film departs from, but still includes many fine moments of the absurdist, ironic comedy that propelled Liman's debut.

The director tackles a number of stories that occur simultaneously, during a single night, surrounding a loosely connected group of people, branching out from a crew of bored supermarket cashiers. Sarah Polley, the standout teen thesp from Atom Egoyan's gob-smacking Sweet Hereafter, stars as Ronna. Skint, behind in her rent and desperate, she brokers an ill-fated Ecstasy scam that may see her dead before dawn. Parallel to her yarn Adam and Zack, a pair of numbskull soap opera hunks (Adam actually played by numbskull soap opera hunk Scott Wolf from TV's Party of Five), get roped into assisting with a police drug sting in order to have their own drug charges dropped. Lastly, Simon has the adventure of a lifetime when he and his buddies dodge bullets, Mafioso and irate strippers during one hellish evening in Las Vegas.

Each part of the triptych begins with a differing point of view of the same moment as the three cashiers at the centre of the film finish their shift and make a decision that will drastically affect the outcome ot the night. Liman is a master at capturing the angst driving each story and allowing intrigue to build organically. Each retelling alters the viewers perception of events, Liman teasing and then pulling the rug. The director infuses the action with a playful dark reality found only in modern Los Angeles: his youthful and dynamic cast providing the added jolt of authenticity.

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