#REVIEW: “GOOD TIME”
Review by Siobhán Rich for Mr. Will Wong
A common thread in films this year has been the importance of family. After debuting to critical praise at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the Safdie Brothers’ latest outing explores this theme by looking at the lengths brothers will go to for one another. With the bulk of the Film taking place over the course of a single night, Good Time is the well-paced story of a hustler, a bank robbery, and a series of very unfortunate events.
Despite Connie Nikas’ (Robert Pattinson) need to manipulate everyone around him, the one driving force in his life is his brother, Nick (Ben Safdie). When Connie’s greed causes a bank heist to go bad and his brother is caught by the police, Connie is determined to get him out of jail no matter what it takes. Acting first and thinking third results in a series of mishaps including breaking the wrong person out of police custody and breaking into a theme park in the middle of the night. Even as the police try and track him down for a mounting series of crimes, Connie remains focused on freeing his brother.
Although many British actors portray Americans onscreen few of Pattinson’s contemporaries have mastered the accent with his aplomb. Nothing brings an audience back to reality faster than hearing their New York protagonist suddenly say certain words in a very proper English accent. While it may seem like an odd facet of his portrayal to focus on, it speaks well to Pattinson’s dedication to his craft that he attempts to perfect every aspect of the character.
The Movie also boasts an impressive supporting cast including Oscar two nominees: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) and Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight). But the real standout is Taliah Webster whose portrayal of Crystal skillfully balances both the naiveté and world weariness of her character.
From the slightly grainy film quality to the generous use of close-ups, Good Time is reminiscent of early 80s David Cronenberg. Adding to this aesthetic is composer Daniel Lopatin’s synth-heavy score which plays behind a New York reminiscent of a grittier, pre-Giuliani era. To create this Cronenbergian mood, Co-Directors Ben and Josh Safdie surrounded themselves with a familiar team including Co-ascreenwriter Ronald Bronstein and Cinematographer Sean Price Williams.
At the end of the day much of the Movie’s success lies with Pattinson. His performance grounds the Movie and makes the audience empathize with a morally-ambiguous antihero even as he makes a series of ever more questionable choices in his quest to save his brother. In a summer of stand-out Independent Films this one promises a Good Time will be had by all.
Elevation Pictures release Good Time on Friday, August 18, 2017.