The humanist virtues of John Sayles are readily apparent in the first scenes of Go For Sisters, his low-key border-crossing roadtrip mystery. Straight off, the writer-director-novelist treats us to two knotty, compelling monologues, a pair of showstoppers delivered by characters you don't see in the movies that often: grown women forced to explain how they came to violate their parole. Their parole officer is a seen-it-all type played by LisaGay Hamilton with just a hint of warm empathy within her official indifference. One story she deems "bullshit"; the other -- well, that's where the movie starts. The officer's adult son has gone missing, and the second parolee -- a trying-to-go-straight addict (Yolonda Ross) — happens to be an old friend from high school with connections to the drug-and-crime circles that had lately absorbed the son. Might Fontayne, the parolee, make contact on behalf of Bernice, the officer? The women's investigation affords Sayles every chance to indulge his interest in the people who make cities and syndicates and governments run, and his love of setting those people against each other and just letting them talk. Much of this getting-to-know-you is welcome, but the plot feels rote, as if the film's events are just an excuse for us to hang with its people. Eventually, the women hire on an ex-cop played by Edward James Olmos, who seems to have spent the years since Battlestar Galactica steeping in whatever juices give him his kick of sour flavor. Now a rumpled, crabby, hilarious mound, he has achieved peak-level Olmos, and the movie livens considerably whenever he's onscreen.
John SaylesEdward James Olmos, Hector Elizondo, Mahershala Ali, Michael Laskin, Isaiah Washington, Jacob Vargas, Martha HigaredaJohn SaylesVariance Films