USA 1999

Reviewed by John Wrathall


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

Los Angeles, Christmas Eve. Desperate to raise $400 to avert her eviction, supermarket-checkout girl Ronna agrees to work an extra shift to cover for Simon, who is going for a night out in Las Vegas. When Adam and Zack arrive, hoping to buy 20 Ecstasy tablets from Simon, Ronna offers to supply them. Ronna gets the drugs from Simon's source, Todd. At Adam and Zack's, she realises it's a set-up, and flushes the drugs down the toilet. She goes back to Todd and gives him 20 aspirins in place of the drugs, claiming the sale fell through. Then, with her friends Claire and Mannie, she goes to a rave, where she sells more aspirin and makes the $400 she needs. Realising the drugs are fake, Todd follows Ronna to the rave. As he chases her through the car park, she is run over.

Returning to the start again, we follow Simon to Las Vegas, where he accidentally shoots a strip-club bouncer, Victor Jr, in the arm. Simon escapes, but he leaves Todd's borrowed credit card behind at the club. Returning to the start again, we follow Adam and Zack, an actor couple pressured by Burke, a cop, into setting up Ronna. After the sting goes wrong, they go to the rave, where they run over Ronna and leave her for dead, only to realise that Adam is still wearing the hidden microphone from the sting. Returning to dispose of Ronna's body, they find her still breathing and move her to ensure that someone else discovers her.

Looking for Ronna, Claire meets Todd and goes home with him for sex, but Victor Jr shows up, looking for Simon. When Simon arrives moments later, Victor plans to shoot him in the arm in revenge. Ronna wakes up in hospital and goes to the supermarket, where she meets Claire, and remembers she left Mannie passed out at the rave. They return to the deserted site and find him.


Like Doug Liman's first film Swingers, Go follows assorted young Los Angelenos around the city's nightspots - and in the central episode, to Las Vegas and back - in search of a good time. But there the similarity ends. While Swingers (scripted by Jon Favreau) was a gentle series of variations on a theme, John August's script for Go is frenetic, audaciously structured and plot-heavy, packed with enough incident for at least three films.

Structurally, Go is in the tradition of Mystery Train and Pulp Fiction, divided into three stories which happen over the same timespan (in this case, a single night) and which gradually inform each other. The way Ronna, after the near-death experiences of her night out, ends up neatly back at work the following morning also echoes Scorsese's After Hours. Like these films, but unlike Swingers, Go isn't really concerned with character development. This isn't a coming-of-age story: the characters don't learn anything from the experiences of their big night. This is made clear at the end, when the wasted Mannie, who has spent most of Christmas Eve passed out under a pile of scrap metal, blithely asks, "What are we doing for New Year?" Next week, the implication seems to be, the cycle will start all over again. (It's tempting to perceive an allusion to Monopoly in the way the story keeps returning to the same initial scene, a narrative equivalent of passing "Go".)

The film's sense of frenetic activity purely for its own sake provides an apt reflection of the clubbing experience. Like a good DJ, Liman is skilled at varying the rhythm, building things up and then slowing them down. The first episode, 'Ronna', follows her attempts to obtain, then dispose of, then replace 20 tablets of Ecstasy. But within the film's simple, logical progression Liman finds room for two hilarious digressions exploring the drugs' effects on Mannie: an extravagant Latin dance fantasy in a supermarket and a deadpan 'conversation' with drug-dealer Todd's cat, conducted entirely in subtitled 'thoughts'.

The second episode, 'Simon', picks up speed, hurtling through furious plot twists as Simon's night out in Las Vegas takes in gambling losses, a gatecrashed wedding, three-way sex, a hotel fire - and all before the story really starts. Then the third episode, 'Adam and Zack', slows right down again, straying into a bizarre shaggy-dog digression about a creepy Christmas dinner at the home of their police contact Burke before finally contriving an excuse for the pair to go to the rave, where their story collides with Ronna's.

As on Swingers, Liman functions as his own director of photography, giving him total control over the film's look, from grimy naturalism to drug-fuelled fantasy. He also elicits sprightly performances from his eclectic cast, ranging from committed indie kids (Sarah Polley from Atom Egoyan's films, Nathan Bexton and James Duval from Gregg Araki's) to US soap stars (Jane Krakowski of Ally McBeal, Scott Wolf of Party of Five) to British former child star Desmond Askew.


Paul Rosenberg
Mickey Liddell
Matt Freeman
John August
Director of Photography
Doug Liman
Stephen Mirrione
Production Designer
Tom Wilkins
©Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc
Production Companies
Columbia Pictures presents a Banner Entertainment production in association with Saratoga Entertainment
Paddy Cullen
John August
Production Supervisor
Alexandra E. Perce
Production Co-ordinator
Steve Cainas
Unit Production Manager
Paddy Cullen
Location Manager
Tim Leary Swan
Post-production Supervisors
Joseph Anaya
Matthew R. Hannon
2nd Unit Director
John August
Assistant Directors
Timothy Bird
Melissa V. Barnes
Pamela Altieri-Paterra
Rebecca McDonald
Script Supervisor
Judith Saunders
Joseph Middleton
Michelle Morris
ADR Voice:
L.A. MadDogs
Camera Operators
Jeffrey Clark
Las Vegas Crew:
Ken Richardson
Special Effects
Martin Becker
Art Director
Rebecca Young
Set Designer
Catherine Doherty
Set Decorator
F. Beauchamp Herb
Storyboard Artist
Andy Friend
Costume Designer
Genevieve Tyrrell
Costume Supervisor
Heidi Higginbotham
Make-up Department Head
James Ryder
Additional Make-up Effects
Alterian Studios
Hair Department Head
Emjay Olson
Maxine Morris
Pacific Title/Mirage
Cinema Research Corporation
Music Supervisor
Julianne Kelley
Music Editor
Carl Kaller
"Fire up the Shoesaw (LP Version)" by Justin Robertson, John Barry, performed by Lionrock, contains "These Boots Are Made for Walking" by Lee Hazlewood; "Silver Bells" by Jay Livingston, Ray Evans, performed by Starlite Pop Orchestra; "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" arranged by Carmen Dragon, performed by Starlite Pop Orchestra; "New" performed by Gwen Stefani, by Tom Dumont, performed by No Doubt; "Angel" by Robert Del Naja, Grantley Marshall, Andrew Vowles, Horace Andy, performed by Massive Attack; "Macarena (DJ Dero Piano Mix)" by Antonio Romero, Rafael Ruiz, performed by Los Del Rio; "Swords" by Neil Barnes, Paul Daley, Nicole Willis, performed by Leftfield featuring Nicole Willis; "To All the Lovely Ladies (Radio Mix)" by Goldo, Johnny Toxic, Peter Frampton, Rick Wills, John Siomos, Mick Gallagher, performed by Goldo; "Rockitt", "Blackout" by Martin Cartledge, performed by Sunset Sky; "Believer" by Brian Transeau, performed by BT; "Cha Cha Cha ('Go' Remix)" by James D'Angelo, Jimmy Kelleher, Marc Lanjean, Leona Soime, Marcel Stellman, Leo Johns, Henri Salvador, performed by Jimmy Luxury and The Tommy Rome Orchestra;, contains a sample "Cha Cha Cha d'Amore" performed by Dean Martin; "Gangster Tripping" by Norman Cook, Nicholas Lockett, Josh Davis, performed by Fatboy Slim, contains sample of "Beatbox Wash" performed by The Dust Junkys, contains sample of "Entrophy" performed by DJ Shadow; "Scatter & Swing" by Justin Robertson, Roger Lyons, performed by Lionrock; "Let Your Love Flow" by Larry E. Williams, performed by Bellamy Brothers; "Talisman" by Jean Benoît Dunckel, Nicholas Godin, David Whitaker, performed by Air French Band; "Steal My Sunshine" by Marc Costanzo, Gregg Diamond, performed by LEN, contains sample "More, More, More" performed by The Andrea True Connection; "Always on the Run" by Lenny Kravitz, Slash, performed by Lenny Kravitz; "Song for Holly" by Danny Saber, Esthero, performed by Esthero with Danny Saber; "Shooting Up in Vain ('Go' Remix)" by/performed by Eagle-Eye Cherry; "Magic Carpet Ride" by John Kay, Rushton Moreve, performed by Steppenwolf ; "Magic Carpet Ride (Steir's Mix)" by John Kay, Rushton Moreve, performed by Philip Steir with Steppenwolf; "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" by Mel Tormé, Robert Wells, performed by Starlite Pop Orchestra; "Jah Jah Voice Is Calling" by/performed by Peter Broggs; "Troubled by the Way We Came Together" by Nick Seymour, Natalie Imbruglia, David Biegel, performed by Natalie Imbruglia; "Good to Be Alive" by Bill Baylis, DJ Rap, performed by DJ Rap Choreography
Miranda Garrison Production Sound Mixer
Mark Weingarten
Sound Mixer
Las Vegas Crew:
Jim Thornton
Re-recording Mixers
Chris Carpenter
Rick Kline
Supervising Sound Editors
Christopher Sheldon
Dane A. Davis
Sound Editor
Andrew Lackey
Dialogue Editors
Charles Ritter
Willie Allen
Edward Steidele
Rave Technical Consultant
Lance Powell
Stunt Co-ordinator
Dennis Scott
Brian McMillan's Animal Actors
Desmond Askew
Simon Baines
Taye Diggs
William Fichtner
J.E. Freeman
Victor Sr
Katie Holmes
Claire Montgomery
Jane Krakowski
Breckin Meyer
Jay Mohr
Timothy Olyphant
Todd Gaines
Sarah Polley
Ronna Martin
Scott Wolf
James Duval
Nathan Bexton
Jay Paulson
Jimmy Shubert
Victor Jr
Suzanne Krull
stringy-haired woman
Robert Peters
Jodi Bianca Wise
ballerina girl
Rita Bland
dancing register woman
Tony Denman
track suit guy
Scott Hass
raver dude
Natasha Melnick
anorexic girl
Manu Intiraymi
skate punk guy
Josh Paddock
Spider Marine
Courtland Mead
Katharine Towne
Marisa Morell
Ken Kupstis
sports car man
Nikki Fritz
Tane McClure
Melissa McCarthy
Shann Beeman
Willie Amakye
Princess Leah Lucky Button
alley cat
Columbia Tristar Films (UK)
9,160 feet
101 minutes 47 seconds
Colour by
DeLuxe Laboratories
Prints by
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011