Go For Sister: John Sayles’ Border Thriller

John Sayles returns to the Mexican border in Go For Sister, a thriller that suffers from schematic structure and por tecnical execution, despite an intriguing premise and decent performances.

Like Sayles’ 1992 Passion Fish (my favorite film of his), Go For Sister centers on two women. Bernice (LisaGay Hamilton) and Fontayne (Yolonda Ross) grew up the closest of friends, but took very different paths in life. Twenty years later, those paths cross: Fontayne is a recovering addict fresh out of jail, and Bernice is her new parole officer.

When Bernice’s son Rodney goes missing on the Mexican border, his shady partners in hiding or brutally murdered, Bernice turns to Fontayne, needing someone she can trus, who can navigate Rodney’s world without involving the police.

The pair enlist the services of Freddy Suárez (Edward James Olmos), a disgraced ex-LAPD detective, and plunge into the underbelly of Tijuana, quickly finding themselves in a potentially deadly cat-and-mouse game with a ruthless gang of human traffickers.

Variance distrbuited this film, one of the most sharply uneven in Sayles’ output, containing at least half a dozen scenes that are not only dull but also borderline banal, like overly familiat TV episodes.

Burdened with a runtime of 122 minutes, the film overstays its wlecome by at least 20 minutes.

Mixed critical response and lack of audience interest resulted in a film that was both artistically and comercially disappointig.

Released: November 8, 2013 (limited)

DVD: August 18, 2014