Set to a moody soundtrack to match its own protagonist’s broody persona, writer/director Alex Knapp’s Go/Don’t Go (2021) is a well-shot, high-quality film that seemingly uses the art-house stylings of similarly cerebral indie movies but refashions them to make a narratively unique and visually refreshing viewing experience. Released by distributors Gravitas Ventures/Kamikaze Dogfight, Go/Don’t Go is due to be released January 12th, 2021 on VOD.
At first glance, Go/Don’t Go appears to struggle with coherence as it floats from scene to scene with transitional sequences of random images. As it progresses, however, you may realize something along the lines of the masterpiece Memento (2000) is unfolding with Go/Don’t Go building a non-sequential mess of memories that are the makings of one man’s mind. While some movies struggle with the “show, don’t tell’ technique of creating seamless storytelling, Go/Don’t Go instead shows too much and tells too little. Though it does show too much with transitional fillers at times, the movie redeems itself in cleverly structuring the narrative to reveal stories and motivations only little by little.
Alex Knapp stars in an endearing performance as a relatable introvert named Adam who’s attempting to follow the fissured lines in his cracked memory after living through a perceived apocalyptic cataclysm. In a quest to find closure with his lost love in a world where he believes he is completely alone, Adam struggles to piece together the broken parts of his memory revisiting old friends and dark places previously recessed in the corners of his mind. The love interest, “K” (Olivia Luccardi), was too underutilized with the narrative primarily following Adam. When her character was allowed to pop back into the storyline, Luccardi was equally endearing and somehow sidestepped having her character come off as a typical manic pixie dream girl.
I often found myself asking “Where are we?” and “How did we get here?” with each new scene, but I was along for the ride made so scenically beautiful with dreamy cinematography and sweeping areal shots of the landscape’s majestic woods. Furthermore, I enjoyed the hand-held camera style. It made for a not necessarily found-footage feeling, but something uncannily close to it which ended up giving an intimate feeling of the viewer joining the protagonist’s journey. It only ended up being unnecessarily shakey some of the time, otherwise Go/Don’t Go successfully executes this method so that the film has a rough around the edges & raw finish to its otherwise artsy style.
Go/Don’t Go gave me strong Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) vibes, by doing a familiar non-chronological exploration of memories portrayed in pictorially eye-catching ways. Only I would say director Alex Knapp’s film is tinged with a lot more melancholy as it’s missing the tempered comedic timing of Carrey and Winslet as well as ESOTSM‘s whimsical, romantic feeling. Overall it takes longer than needed to get to the point, but Go/Don’t Go‘s surreal & psychological narrative is quite an experimental accomplishment.
7 out of 10