SXSW Film Reviews: 'Go For Sisters'

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Go for Sisters

Narrative Spotlight, North American Premiere
D: John Sayles; with LisaGay Hamilton, Yolonda Ross, Edward James Olmos

In a run for the border as gripping and complex as his 1996 Lone Star, writer/director Sayles propels two old friends – a parole officer and an ex-con – deep into the Mexican underworld on a desperate search for the former's missing son. By-the-book Bernice (Hamilton) taps fresh-from-prison Fontayne (Ross) for leads among her shady associates, dropping the two down the rabbit hole of drug and human trafficking, where Fontayne grows concerned with upholding the law while Bernice bends it to her will. As the estranged schoolmates – so close they could "go for sisters" – are drawn back together, the actresses achingly convey the pain of their pasts and needs of their present. With help from a gruff former cop with failing vision, masterfully portrayed by Olmos, the hunt is fraught with tension, though Sayles – as always, keeping the action at street level and vividly filling the screen with a culture's sights, sounds, and rich, distinctive characters – makes us as concerned for the fate of two women's friendship as for a man's life.

Thursday, March 14, 1:15pm, Violet Crown
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