9 March 2014 | guchrisc
(Yet another) trip down ol' Mexico way.
'Go for Sisters' was screened at the Glasgow film Festival. It is one of a slew of films from 2013 with the major plot-line of dirty dealings down ol' Mexico way. Older films, with a similar theme, would suggest that this film is perhaps part of some sort of Mexico-crime sub-genre, and a worthy part too.
Film opens in LA, in a probation office. The scene is shot almost documentary style but camera wobble and swaying does spoil these early scenes, though thankfully improves thereafter.
There are three women in this opening scene. One white woman is being interviewed for breaking the conditions of her probation. A second white woman takes no active part in the interview and we clearly sense that she is some sort of probationary probation officer who is learning the ropes.
The interview is being conducted by Bernice, an experienced African-American probation officer, played by LisaGay Hamilton. Bernice is strict with the parole-violator and her experience enables her to closely question the parolee. We get the impression that she has heard and seen it all before.
Bernice then conducts a second interview with an African-American woman called Fontayne, played by Yolonda Ross. Again she is strict but listens to the explanations of the parolee. She informs the woman that because of a prior relationship that a another probation-officer will be allocated. These early scenes are shot very much in a documentary style, and we see in minute detail the system of processing.
In these early scenes, and other later ones, we see Bernice trying to contact her son unsuccessfully. He has been caught up in some criminal activity and has disappeared. Determined to find him, Bernice contacts Fontayne to ask her to help in the search. Their relationship is an old one, and so Fontayne agrees to help. This requires delving into the criminal-world and so probation-officer Bernice keeps parolee Fontayne as her client and to keep things legitimate.
Thus we are in the land of '48hrs' (1982), where cop Nick Nolte has criminal Eddie Murphy out of prison on that famous 48 hour pass, and the pair get into various scrapes, as they battle against the clock, in that famous landmark buddy film. The girls in 'GfS', whilst not having that same specific 48 hour time-period are still very much up against the clock throughout this film. Like the all-girl 'The Heat' from last year, there is some of the same buddy-comedy. The '48hrs' classic 'red-neck' scene, can now probably never be replicated in a modern film in all of it's glory. However this reviewer did enjoy an early comic scene in 'GfS', that perhaps gave a slight nod to that sort of 'good cop, non-cop' type of situation.
Early confrontations are not all comic. Life in a drug-infested ghetto is clearly shown in more documentary-style scenes. However our girls quickly realize that their search requires them to head down to the Mexican border, and to cross it too. Thus we now embark, like some sort of road-movie, on a Mexicrime journey, as in the seminal classic 'Touch of Evil' (1958), the later 'No Country for Old Men' (2007), and that slew of 2013 films.
'ToE' and NCfOM' both had a drug theme, as do all the 2013 films. '2 Guns', which is a slapstick action-comedy film, had Edward James Olmos playing a drug-cartel leader. In 'GfS', which is a serious film, Mr Olmos plays an ex-cop, who will help our girl duo across the border. In the comedy 'We're the Millers' a cover-story is required to get across the border. In 'GfS' a cover story is also required, and Mr Olmos, who also produces this film, sets this up with a bit of a slight nod to, for him, a real-life autobiographical flourish. A nice touch!
'2G' and 'WtM' were comedies. 'GfS' is not. It is instead a serious crime film with some comedy. 'The Counsellor' was a very grim drug-dealing story, not for the faint-hearted. 'GfS' whilst serious, is not as grim as that.
'GfS' is mainly in English, but two long scenes of dialogue are in Spanish, but sadly with no English sub-titles for non-Spanish-speaking viewers. This is a shame as both seemed authentic and interesting. Neither perhaps was of crucial importance, but sadly we, who are not Spanish-speaking, do not know that as a certainty. Sub-titles would have added authenticity and interest to those conversations.
It is not clear why the son has disappeared, but finding him seems to be like looking for a needle in a haystack. This requires detective work; of a deductive type as well as undercover work. It also means confrontations; some serious, and some comic.
There is good acting throughout the film; Miss Hamilton, the star, portrays a buttoned-up probation-officer trying to keep her emotions under control. Mr Olmos is the grizzled ex-cop who reminded me of last year's film noir 'Cold Comes the Night'. The talented Miss Ross, the parolee, gives a very believable and versatile performance. Good work! These three leads convince in their roles and impress with their acting. It was also nice too, to see brief appearances by the familiar faces of Don Harvey and Hector Elizondo, both of whom added authenticity to the film in their roles.
If you like '48hrs'-style action-comedy buddy-movies, or Mexicrime-style genre movies, you will find this film a worthy companion. Certified as 15+, it is a tense crime film, with some comedy. 7/10.