Magazine article Variety

Go for Sisters

Magazine article Variety

Go for Sisters

Article excerpt

FILM SXSW

Go for Sisters

According to writer-director John Sayles, had he given "Go for Sisters" a Spanish title, it would have been "La Chinesca," the nickname for Mexican's Chinatown neighborhood. Sure enough, If it weren't for the sheer intensity of south-of-the-border sun, "Go for would be a film noir, Jake, tracking a ball-buster parole officer who will stop nothing to retrieve her grown son from the criminals he's gotten himself mixed up with. True to his nature, Sayles most of his attention on culture and character, rather than the plot, crafting a smart, if strangely table, half-million-dollar arthouse alternative to megaplex procedurals.

Watching Bernice (LisaGay Hamilton) deny parole violators' heartfelt pleas, one can only imagine what kind of mother she must have been. Since coming back to LA. from the service, her son Rodney (McKinley Belcher III) hasn't made an effort to stay in contact, and Bernice doesn't have much ter luck holding on to friends or lovers, as she's reminded when a half-forgotten highschool acquaintance shows up in her office.

In Bernice's eyes, everyone is guilty of something, but in an uncommon act of compassion, she decides to cut Fontayne (Yolonda Ross) a break. Back in school, they were inseparable (the title itself is slang for two friends who look similar enough to pass for sisters), but all that changed when Fontayne stole Bernice's boyfriend, possibly seeding the trust issues Bernice still has.

Craving redemption for not only her recent drug problems but also that long-ago slight, Fontayne promises to help her old friend should she ever need a favor. Sure enough, after her son disappears, Bernice comes calling. The cops think Rodney is responsible for murdering one of his friends, but Bernice believes otherwise, enlisting Fontayne and an ex-LAPD detective named Freddy Suarez (Edward James Olmos) to help her track him down. (Why she ends up at the crime scene is a rare loose end in a script that slavishly connects its dots.)

Though nearly blind, Suarez has a bloodhound's gift for picking up a trail, and he leads the two women across the border. Though this is territory rendered ominous by "Touch of Evil" and countless other films, Sayles flips the equation, contrasting the eruption of life and color he finds in Tijuana and Mexican with a cold, bloodless view of Los Angeles. …

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