Director: Ben and Josh Safdie
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ben Safdie
Review Author: Tony
The Safdie brothers have built a reputation for examining the darker sides of the human condition, exclusively in New York, with an unflinching matter of fact approach. There’s certainly parallels to draw from their work to Scorsese’ earlier films such as Mean Streets where the leading characters fit in the grey area between protagonist and antagonist. Good Time is an odyssey of ineptitude and misery set to a pulsating synth soundtrack and grainy, intimate cinematography that captures the unfolding desperation on each character’s face.
Connie Nikas and his mentally challenged brother, Nick, attempt to rob a bank. All seems to go smoothly until a dye bomb slipped into the bag by the bank teller ignites. Covered head to toe in the red dust, they try to evade the police but Nick is apprehended. Nick is incarcerated in Rikers Island leaving him confused and at odds with other inmates unaware of his condition. Connie tries to secure a bail bond with the stolen money but is still $10,000 short. What follows is a series of misadventures as Connie navigates through a neon-soaked New York.
Incompetence is the word of the day when it comes to Good Time. Connie appears to keep his head just above water in most circumstances, but he is ultimately the architect of his own destruction. There’s a sense of everything that can go wrong will go wrong but it doesn’t play so much on your sympathy as to rather have you ask if these misfortunes are a form of poetic justice for these flawed characters. Connie is righteous in the sense that he’s looking out for his brother but his actions make him no hero.
Robert Pattinson’s performance is a tour de force and the highlight of an already impressive film. Along with Elijah Wood, Daniel Radcliffe and fellow Twilight cast member, Kristen Stewart, Pattinson is another young actor shaking the chains off from a massive film Franchise to establish himself as a flexible actor in his own right. These smaller films give these actors/actresses a platform to show their diversity and range and help eliminate any future typecasting. Pattinson is almost unrecognizable as this sleazy small-time crook and really makes you believe that Connie see’s himself as a man against the world and not just another scumbag.
Good Time is the polar opposite of what it’s title implies, it’s an uncomfortable ride dripped in bleak humour, spurts of violence and shocking realism. Characters this edgy are rare as there’s no code of honour to these criminals, just a sense of survival.
Rating: 4.25 / 5 Guinness