by KE Monahan Huntley

Go. Go-go girl dance hits, head-trips, and stop-and-go motion drive this one night stand of a film. Writer John August and director and photographer Doug Liman pick the audience up and go to Hollywood and Vegas (Baby!)--traveling with outsiders who interact (and occasionally intersect) with each other in three different stories. All in the same night.

Part one, originally intended as a short, concerns Ronna Martin, grocery store checkout clerk. Taking Simon's (protagonist in part two) shift, she's working the register when Zack and Adam (protagonists in common for part three) come through the line. Facing eviction, opportunity knocks in the guise of a drug deal:


Say . . . (checks nametag) Ronna. You don't know where we could get something to go with this orange juice, do you? . . . something . . . euphoric.

Off the timeclock, Ronna and cohorts Claire and (manic) Mannie are in the car:


You know that Simon's in Vegas.


I don't need Simon. I'm going to Todd.




Who's Todd Gaines?


Simon's dealer. . . . But it's like an evolutionary leap. You're moving up the drug food chain. Without permission.


Ronna, you shouldn't do this.


Both of you just chill the fuck out. It's just once. When Simon gets back, we can still pay for quarters . . . . But this is my deal, so just sit back and watch.

We all watch as the best laid plans unravel for Ronna. The deal is a set up. Zack and Adam are actors. Recently busted for possession, they must play their part to make the illegal indiscretion go away. Meanwhile, Simon a British lad, revels in the bright lights and big city of Las Vegas-champagne, fast women, and a fast (stolen) car accessorized with a 9mm Baretta:


This is why I came here. . . . America is about a man and a gun.

Go is a long, strange trip set to rave music that blares and neon lights that blur. The film features fringe characters that rollick in indiscriminate, illicit behavior. Pop culture references, many particular to L.A., convey much of the humor. As a slice of SoCal 90's life, Go works extremely well. The film, however, does not appear to let well enough alone. Themes introduced but not explored indicate there might have been something more. For example, the only parent in the film contends:


In the old days, you know how you got to the top (thematic issue-experience)? By being better than the guy ahead of you (thematic counterpoint-skill). How do you people get to the top? By being so fucking incompetent that the guy ahead of you can't even do his job, he falls on his ass and congratulations, you're on top.

All this coming from a father who owns a strip joint and employs his son, Vic Jr., as the bouncer. The statement about today's youth is issued forth but not followed up with a satisfying rebuttal-for or against.

Additional to underdeveloped thematic issues, all four perspectives necessary for a compelling Dramatica grand argument are not provided. Lack of context does not distract from the fun, but it does undermine any meaningful assertions Go may be attempting to make. Protagonists erratically move the action forward in each story, but no time is allowed for emotional investment-requisite for a main character. Influence characters and relationship stories do not materialize. There is an intermittent physics objective story--a chain of events that somewhat link the characters in all three stories:


It's all connected. The circle of life.

Not the Disney version, but life in the fast lane that may be extinct by the millennium. The last line uttered--"So. What are we doing New Year's?"--hints at the pathos of characters who know they are going nowhere. Good times are for the moment only, underscored by the melancholy lyrics "Don't let it go away, this feeling has got to stay . . ." as the credits roll by.

About the Author

KE Monahan Huntley is an editor and publisher based in Southern California. As one of the original contributors to Dramatica, she helped edit and analyze many of the examples. In addition, her numerous articles provided an insightful "conversational" approach to the theory. Today she can be found at Write Between the Lines or follow her on Twitter @kemhuntley.

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