Good Time has seedy characters that make bad decision after bad decision. But it’s so fast-paced, their mistakes pull you deeper into the chaos. A chilling performance from Robert Pattinson, coupled with edgy crime-drama, and we’ve got ourselves a damn good film.
It’s an adrenalised story that takes place over 24 hours. Pattinson plays Connie, who goes on a mad dash through the streets after a botched robbery gets his brother Nick (Benny Safdie) sent to prison. Connie needs to secure a bail bond to save his brother but he must cough up $10,000. First, he turns to his girlfriend Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh). He tries to convince her to help him out, and from here, things spiral out of control in unexpected ways.
It conveys its protagonists’ dilemma in ways that make you feel uncomfortable. With its constant sense of panic and anxiety, the film feels like a waking nightmare. It’s all over the place and I mean that in a good way. It refuses to let you catch a breath, beating you over the head with anxious energy. I often thought to myself, ‘C’mon, give me a little break,’ because the storytelling is so relentless. Connie whizzes through a city with neon lights and dark corners, and even in the moments where the pace calms down, the film is twitchy, as if it can’t sit still.
The background music bleeds into Connie’s journey. It’s a punishing score that reflects Connie’s racing mindset and it enhances the deadly situation he’s in. It’s never a distraction, as it gives the film even more buzz. To be clear, this is Pattinson’s best performance to date. He’s come a long way since the days of playing a sparkly vampire in the Twilight franchise. Clearly, he’s put in a lot of effort to shake off that image. I argue he hits a career-high in Good Time. His character is nasty, not too smart and Pattinson disappears under a scruffy beard and a shabby haircut.
Scenes with Pattinson are the most unsettling and grimly engaging, further proof that challenging movies can be the most effective. So despite its title, Good Time is not an easy-going, commercial flick. It’s a hard-edged thriller about a night-from-hell. Benny Safdie, who co-directed and starred in the film, said in an interview, “We wanted to deliver a piece of pulp that actually felt dangerous.” Well, they’ve certainly done that, having loaded the movie with thrills, frights and fiendish grit.
Essentially, it is one long chase movie. When you strip it down, the story is very one dimensional. It’s just about a guy trying to get his brother out of prison while avoiding arrest himself after robbing a bank. The plot is so familiar that it’s not even worth discussing in-depth. There have been hundreds of heist films and they keep being made because they work so well.
Is Good Time any better than what we’ve seen before? From the claustrophobic close-ups, shaky hand-held shots, to the sparseness that seems to rage throughout, it feels different. I’d say it’s one of the best heist or chase movies of recent times, and one of the best films of 2017 by far.
Good Time breaks down our comfort and takes us on a swift journey. It keeps us guessing about what’s going to happen next in a setting where characters are losing themselves amid the constant mayhem.
Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Writers: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Taliah Webster
Distributor: A24 (US) (Theatrical)
Run Time: 101 minutes.
Have you seen Good Time? What did you think of Robert Pattinson’s performance? Let me know in the comments!