Come the great cultural revolution, when all who insist on lowering artistic standards are finally brought to justice, the first in the dock will surely be those tedious journos who repeatedly describe movies as "white-knuckle rollercoaster rides" or as being "like another film... but on some sort of drug!"
It's a shame this convention has become shorthand for unimaginative hacks, because the most precise way of pitching Go would be to label it as "Pulp Fiction on ecstasy". However...
Set during a wild 24 hours in some nameless LA suburb, the plot takes a supermarket change of shift as a kick-off point for a series of loosely interwoven stories. It employs a time-jumping perspective-shifting narrative style to produce an end result that's sharp enough to delight fans of Liman's indie-hit Swingers, but punchy and funny enough to hoover all manner of punters off the street.
With the film repeatedly rewinding its story to follow new characters, and John August's screenplay supplying enough drugs, guns, cops, car crashes, rave scenes, shirtless dealers and appearances of the utterly cute Katie Holmes to please virtually everyone, Go stays on the narrow track between funny and serious, never allowing the pace to let up. Like Pulp Fiction, this is best viewed stony-cold, as many of the laughs and tingly-tense moments come from not knowing what's going on or what'll happen next. The mood shifts between fun and danger so often that you'll teeter between laughing with the characters and fearing for their lives, without guessing who'll reach dawn unscathed.
The large ensemble cast are young, annoyingly talented, and great to look at, so take a big rubber stamp and mark "One to look out for" on each and every CV. And thumbs up for Telly Savalas, who makes an unlikely TV cable appearance. Which is nice. But, although it's almost churlish to complain about the few dodgy bits, the night-out-in-Vegas segment becomes so Smokey And The Bandit that it ends up sitting badly with the low-key grungy goings-on that occupy the rest of the movie.
And, although he's really English, Desmond Askew comes across as one of those Dick Van Dyke cock-er-nees, the same way the English actors in Titanic sounded Australian with their silly "Bleedin' Croist" and "Oyceberg, royt ahead!" lines. Why should this be? Does it mean we're doomed as a nation to `be represented by floppy-haired Hugh Grant clones because regional accents sound so weird in American films?
To sum up with a final, death sentence-inviting cliché, Go see it, Go have a good time and Go tell your friends about it. And if they put "It's Pulp Fiction on ecstasy - Total Film" on the posters, then this mag may have to close down in embarrassment.
An edgy, punchy, funny look at the duller side of Tinseltown. Packed full of great lines and performances, its energy makes for an exciting first viewing while its complexities make future video ownership practically mandatory.