Sugihara is a troubled youth with a Zainichi Korean father and Japanese mother. His father Hideyoshi was once a professional boxer in North Korea and he has trained Sugihara to fight ever since he was a child. After completing junior high school at a brutally strict institution emphasizing the Marxist ideology favored by the North Korean regime, Sugihara is determined to switch to a regular Japanese high school. At his new school, he has to deal with boys who challenges him to fights daily, but his life changes when Sugihara falls for Sakurai, a mysterious girl he meets at a party. Sugihara is lacking in social skills but his affection for her appears to be reciprocated. But he fears that telling her about his ethnic background might jeopardize their budding relationship. Then Sugihara gets a call from an old friend from his days at the North Korean school. What Jong Il has to tell him will have grave consequences for his relationship with Sakurai.
Cast & Credits
The movie opens up with this declaration, uttered in background narration by the main character while he's scorned and targeted by a players-filled basketball court. And it isn't only the rival team watching him with contempt: his own teammates are shouting the loudest.
"This is my love story", repeats Sugihara while he escapes from the police or is beaten by his father.
The contrast between the narration and the scene shown on screen gives us the key to the reading of the whole film, which is about finding ones place between love and hate, belonging and distancing, caring and detachment.
It's the story of a young man who has to show the world he doesn't give a dime while inside he's yearning for a sense of belonging.
GO is a wonderfully dramatic movie, one that deals with a cruel reality of discrimination. It's the journey of a guy who struggles to find his place on the planet. But don't be fooled by the surface: the director highlights the Japanese prejudices and the Korean stubborn obtuseness in equal measure. To each their own share.
And in the middle of this, there's Sugihara, who looks like a Japanese, talks like a Japanese, was born in Japan and is not recognized as one. His part is superbly acted: Yosuke Kubozuka is so convincing one can't help falling for him despite his murderous glances and his rebellious spirit.
So how is this a love story?
It is such on multiple levels: there's love for the friends, love for a father shown with fists, love for a country - or 2 - and love for a girl.
The music fits the pace beautifully, never overpowering the scenes.
Overall an emotion-filled movie, superb in acting, direction, plot and photography.
To be avoided if you're looking for a light watch. A must if you like thought-provoking films.
I didn't expect it to be so good. The rating is so bad I almost didn't chose it :/
I thought I'd like it because it's one of these old Japanese movies that have that kind of special aura, and that it would be nice to distress a bit about my exams- but It really amazed me!
Acting- perfect. Flawless. Incredible.
The way it was filmed was really fantastic.
The story is very nice. It looks simple but it tackles so many political things - racism, presence of Koreans in Japan or even halfu Japanese-Koreans, difference between north and South Korea a few years ago...
Rewatch value: I think I, gonna watch it again tomorrow. There is some suspense but the way it's filmed is so amazing that I'd watch it just to see if I haven't missed any details ~
I really recommend this one :)
Sorry for my crappy English >