Go (2001, Yukisada Isao)

Go opens with an unbelievable shot. Pimples. It opens with the bad skin of the protagonist’s forehead. Once my initial reaction–ick–was over, I started watching Go wrap itself into a drug-free, fighting-heavy Trainspotting homage. Then it started reminding me of True Romance, if only because the theme sort of sounds like it (the one from Badlands). Then, nicely, Go did something different. It got really good.

Go‘s the first film I’ve seen that discusses Japanese racism. The main character is a Korean living in Japan and, apparently, Japanese people don’t like Koreans very much. This external conflict slowly becomes important in the film, as it becomes important to the protagonist, which is a nice way of doing things.

There’s so much good stuff in Go–the romance is all right, but easily the least, except some of the comedic scenes–particularly the family relationship and the friendships. Go features a father and son beating the shit out of each other to show each other how much they love each other. It’s a stunningly great scene, but there are a few others. So, if you do get ahold of it (Nicheflix has it), don’t give up during the derivative first act… stick with it. Even with denouement problems, it pulls itself into something damn good.

Oh. I never went anywhere with the Badlands thing. Later, the romance reminds me of Badlands. Not in the killing folks sort of way, but the loving people sort of way.



Directed by Yukisada Isao; screenplay by Kudô Kankurô, based on the novel by Kaneshiro Kazuki; director of photography, Yanagishima Katsumi; edited by Imai Takeshi; music by Kumagai Yôko and Urayama Hidehiko; production designer, Wada Hiroshi; produced by Kurosawa Mitsuru; released by Toei Inc.

Starring Kubozuka Yôsuke (Sugihara), Shibasaki Kou (Sakurai), Ootake Shinobu (Michiko), Yamamoto Taro (Tawake) and Yamazaki Tsutomu (Hideyoshi).

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