(originally published Jan 06, 2018)
Good Time is anything but in the best way possible. Led by a cocoon-busting performance by Robert Pattinson, this film pulls you through a seedy side of New York City with a kind of raw energy that's rarely seen these days.
The film is structured around one hellish day and night as Connie (Pattinson) tries everything he can to get his mentally-challenged brother (co-director Benny Safdie) out of jail after a bank heist goes tits-up. Watching it play out feels like running full-speed down a narrow hallway while sharp corners suddenly materialize out of nowhere while you're hurtling toward the door on the other side. The shit that gets thrown at Connie and the people he meets is at times genuinely mind-blowing, and gives this film a feverish momentum that you can't help but surrender to.
Connie is a great lead; an intelligent fuckup motivated by brotherly love. Watching him improvise and calmly think his way out of various insane situations makes him such a pleasure to follow on this journey. Smart characters are always more fun for me to watch than dumbasses, and Connie fits the bill in more ways than one. Pattinson completely disappears into the role, fully becoming the character actor that I had always hoped he’d become after his turn as a glittery glampire.
I've heard this film compared to an early-90s indie film, and I'm inclined to agree with that assessment based on the aforementioned manic energy, and also thanks in part to it being shot on 35mm. The film is awash in vibrant neon color and shot mostly in long lens close-ups of the actors faces, making it almost hard to breathe while watching it. I was put off by this style at first, but the discomfort it gave me made the film more effective overall.
I strongly recommend Good Time. It’s a jet fuel enema that will keep you on your toes for 100 breathless minutes. If this film is any indication, The Safdie Brothers have an exciting career ahead of them, and I can’t wait to see what they cook up next!