If you would like to read an earlier review of Good Time, click here. It’s a big and divisive film for some so I thought I’d provide my take. In short, believe the hype and give this one a chance.
Synopsis: After a botched bank robbery lands his younger brother in prison, Constantine “Connie” Nikas embarks on a twisted odyssey through the city’s underworld in an increasingly desperate—and dangerous—attempt to get his brother Nick out of jail. Over the course of one adrenalized night, Connie finds himself on a mad descent into violence and mayhem as he races against the clock to save his brother and himself, knowing their lives hang in the balance. (a24)
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, and Taliah Webster
Writers: Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie
Directors: Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 100mins
For showtimes and more, check out Good Time on movietimes.com.
We now have a front runner for the most stylish film of the year with the ironically titled “Good Time”. This film is definitely not a good time for the characters but it is one for the viewers. The film uses a combination of a muted color palette and an intense electronic score to help bring to life a dark, gritty, and grounded version of New York City. The story was a thrill ride from beginning to end as a man named Constantine “Connie” Nikas (Pattinson) had to navigate through the criminal underbelly of New York City in order to free his mentally challenged brother Nick (Safdie) out of jail.
The relationship between Connie and Nick loomed large here as he felt it to be his duty to save him. They were believable brothers who cared deeply for one another and it was this that made Connie’s journey even more compelling to watch. Starting with a failed bank robbery, things went downhill fast for both of them and it wasn’t going to be easy to get out unscathed. The action was fast paced and exciting as we see Connie go to great lengths while often putting himself in one dangerous situation after another simply to collect enough bail money to save his brother.
Connie didn’t always have all the answers, making plenty of mistakes along the way, meeting a cast of cooky characters along the way including a young girl named Crystal (Webster). Some may find this repetitive as the plot was driven by Connie’s bad decisions but this made him more of a real character whose sense of duty to his brother perhaps clouded his better judgement. The other characters are also real but they didn’t add much to the story other than being means to an end.
The film is also shot in an intimate way that just adds to the film’s sense of realism through its use of closeup and handheld shots that do an excellent job at capturing the frantic action on screen. The film’s different style obviously doesn’t make it for everyone, especially the electronic score, but it fit seamlessly with the story. Likewise, the subject matter won’t be for everybody. After the intense and exciting story, the ending was a letdown.
Despite everything going on, the whole film would not have worked if not for Pattinson and his performance as Connie which makes sense seeing that the Safdie brothers wrote the character with him in mind. He creates a likable character who was easy to root for throughout. The intimate nature of the film accentuated his nuanced and layered performance of a damaged man trying to do the right thing in a not so right world. Benny Safdie and Webster were solid as Nick and Crystal but this was Pattinson’s film and he commanded the screen.
Overall, this was an excellent, eerie crime drama, that was full of style and thrilling to watch which will surely not be for everybody but is in essence a compelling story about family, elevated by a breakout performance from Robert Pattinson.