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REVIEW – “Good Time”

Good Time is A24’s fresh crime drama about the story of two brothers, Nick (Benny Safdie) and Constantine “Connie”(Robert Pattinson) Nikas. Connie is a loving yet impetuous brother, looking out for his mentally handicapped sibling Nick. Connie tries to help his Nick out in any way he can, although he is ignorant to what others feel Nick should be doing. In an effort to make some quick cash,  the brothers rob a bank. In their unsuccessful effort, Nick is caught by the police and sent to jail while Connie is out roaming the streets trying to evade the police. From there Connie is trying to break his brother out of police custody by trying to get the money he needs for bail. Throughout Connie’s epic odyssey to save Nick, it seems as though Connie is enduring a race against time to not only save his brother, but to save himself as well.

If Good Time is credited with anything, it’s the world it’s built.  With a crazed sense of direction by Benny and Josh Safdie (Heaven Knows What), the neon-drenched world the characters live in becomes palpable for the viewer. The viewer starts to feel as though they are in a deranged pseudo-hell along with Connie, desperate to try and find a way out of his troubling situation. However, as much as I must applaud the Safdie brothers for their excellent direction, their screenplay falls a little short. It feels as though no growth is made character wise because we only get to see one side of Connie. Throughout most of the film, you follow Connie, yet he feels somewhat unfamiliar. You don’t get to know anything about him past his hanious actions. While his actions speak loudly about his character, the dialogue doesn’t.

The general aesthetic of the film is truly awesome, so it would a crime if I didn’t mention how incredible the crew performs throughout Good Time. The cinematography is one of the reasons that this film truly shrines. The feeling of impending doom is only amplified by the neon-soaked surroundings. The set pieces are interesting, the shots are terrifically pleasureable, and the editing is sharp. The film has an incredibly realized look that really does contribute to the dark ethereal quality of Good Time. The score by Oneohtrix Point Never only makes the film even cooler than it already is. The score is easily one of the best of the year and one of the greatest electronic scores ever.

If you knew anything about this film before reading this review, you probably heard that Robert Pattinson delivers a career-defining performance in Good Time. Pattinson’s performance is stellar in the film, however, I have to again bring up the shortage of time spent getting to know the character. I feel like if we spent more time with Connie, the acting from Pattinson would have had more time to shine. Pattinson isn’t the only one delivering a great performance either. Benny Safdie dishes out an incredible portrayal of his own character, Nick. The performance feels true to what the character should be, causing you to fall for the incredible acting done by one of the co-directors. The supporting cast also helps create a satisfying film, Jenniffer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) and Barkhad Abdi (Captain Philips) are wonderful and underrated surprises in the film, along with some great newcomers. 

Good Time is a super cool time for anyone looking for a fresh take on crime dramas. While I do feel like the script falls a little short, the movie overall overcomes what it lacks by providing a cool environment and focused direction. If you’re looking for awesome aesthetics, great performances, and laser direction this is the flick for you. 4/5.

 

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