Not really the ‘good time’ the title suggests.
Good Time (2017) is a crime thriller written and directed by the Safdie brothers. It stars Robert Pattionson as Connie Nikas, a low level criminal who after a bank robbery goes awry, tries to get his brother Nick (Benny Safdie) out of Riker’s Island in one night.
As plots go, the ‘everything takes place in one night’ trope is not unheard of, but Good Time manages to concoct a wholly unique film around it. A thriller with more on its mind than many, the movie has a stellar, kinetic pace that effortlessly flows from one scene to the next and more than lives up to its description as a ‘thriller’. There are scenes here of rapturous tension, and the movie moves so quickly on occasion that the audience is barely left time to process a scene before being confronted by something else. The film, however, doesn’t always come together so well. Helped by a rather muted ending that appears out of nowhere, Good Time is clearly trying to grapple with a little too much subject matter that doesn’t seem to get resolved in a satisfying way. Its a shame considering the tightness of the rest of the film that this subtext didn’t enjoy the same streamlined approach.
One area where the film does succeed is through the Safdie brother’s themselves and their intense guerrilla-style approach to film-making. The film is shot with a raw electricity of extreme close-ups and handheld shakiness that imbues the film’s tone and pace with a great sense of intensity and vigour. The New York setting fits incredibly well also, and the way its shot as dark and neon-tinged really lends itself to the movie’s tone. Daniel Lopatin’s synth-drenched score also fits fantastically as well, and feels like the love child of the Stranger Things theme and Hans Zimmer’s booming Blade Runner 2049 soundtrack.
Its hard to imagine that Robert Pattinson was seen as little more than a pretty boy in a bad movie franchise a few years ago. Good Time, coupled with The Lost City of Z, has begun to prove how wasted this enormously talented actor has been in the past. If he keeps choosing his movies this well going forward, it wouldn’t be hard to see him pushing for an Oscar in several years time. Dear god I never thought I would think that. The rest of the cast is all solid as well – except for maybe Benny Safdie who plays it a little one-note – but this is clearly Pattinson’s movie and he rises to the occasion.
Good Time may not be a ‘good time’, but it is a thrilling time. Well constructed with a stellar soundtrack and an even better lead performance, Good Time may be a little overstuffed but that doesn’t stop it being an electric experience.
General Audiences: Recommended
Film Buffs: Highly Recommended