Written by: Adam Vaughn | January 11th, 2021
Go/Don’t Go (Alex Knapp, 2020) 2½ out of 4 stars.
Releasing at the end of the year is director Alex Knapp’s Go/Don’t Go, described by its distributors as a “slow burn thriller” of a drama film. Keeping this in mind, I braced myself for a story that was going to move at an unhurried pace. Knapp, however, pursues this pacing without the full fundamental story points needed to keep the viewer invested. While certain parts have great cinematic appeal, overall Go/Don’t Go struggles to have major, impactful moments that thrill the viewer enough to stay tuned in.
Go/Don’t Go follows Adam (played by Knapp, himself), who may very well be the last man on Earth. After the human race is seemingly wiped from the planet, Adam must find a way to maintain his sanity in a world without human interaction. As his mind starts to wander without having anyone to talk to, Adam reminisces of the relationship he had with his best friend and his girlfriend, both of whom are long gone.
The issue with Go/Don’t Go is that Adam’s journey seems an entire hour-and-a-half too long. Certainly, the film is driven by aesthetically inventive cinematography, and the score to Go/Don’t Go does it further justice, but Knapp seems to get so wrapped up in subtle details that the big picture gets lost and muddled. The viewer has to struggle through a very tedious exposition, filled with too many dull and uninteresting scenes, with very little emotional or psychological value, in order to arrive at very fleeting bits of intensity. By the end of the film, the only message it has to tell is one that may suffice for a short-film concept, but disappoints in a feature.
With unlimited possibilities as to how to portray the end of the world, Go/Don’t Go certainly has a tone and pace that pays effective homage to films such as I Am Legend or a series like The Walking Dead, illustrating a man-versus-nature world. The concept itself is interesting, and various elements (Knapp’s performance as the lead character, the mise-en-scène and score) prove effective. Unfortunately, the film simply has too much downtime, too much empty space, and a significant lack of major, memorable sequences. In the end, Go/Don’t Go comes across as a minimalist exercise, even if I applaud its attempt at utilizing a tiny cast and simple set design. As an installment in the dystopia genre, however, I cannot see this film being one that will stand the test of time; nevertheless, it’s still a decent directorial debut for Alex Knapp.