Film Reviews

Good Time review: ‘Strong, believable characters in this powerful drama’

From brothers Benny and Josh Safdie comes a loud, fast-paced drama, letting Twilight alum and leading man Robert Pattinson flex his grittier, dirtier muscles, proving his worth with a powerful performance as unlikable Connie.

Connie Nikas is a schemer. Running around New York with brother Nick (Benny Safdie), Connie hatches a plan to rob a bank – for the thrill or for the money, it’s not clear. Once away and in a car, the pair discover the dye-pack hidden inside their bag, which explodes, covering them in the bright paint. With no other option, they barge their way into a Domino’s restaurant toilet, to wash and stash the cash for later. However once back outside, they’re chased by police, with Nick crashing through a glass door and then carted off to a cell. Once inside, he becomes easy prey for the bigger, badder inmates, and is transferred to hospital in handcuffs.

Connie being Connie, he hatches a messy plan to break Nick out, and that’s when the trouble starts. From hospital, to the home of an unsuspecting good Samaritan, to a White Castle drive-thru, to an empty theme park, to the apartment of an unconscious security guard – Connie and his new tag-along group of misfit friends don’t stop, causing chaos in every location.

Shot across New York, the Safdies know how to set a scene. From the outset, we’re introduced to each character with a close-up, giving the opportunity to study them, create a first impression. Our first impression of Connie? A hardened, determined, whip-smart man, who loves his brother. But as the narrative plays out, and events get even sillier, more absurd and – in the end – dangerous, does Connie really love Nick as we seem to believe, or is he just using him as a pawn in his plan?

Pattinson approached the Safdies after watching Heaven Knows What, another dirty drama, with Connie written specifically for him. Alongside Benny Safdie as Nick, the pair work well together – Connie the protective older brother, trying and failing to keep Nick safe. Known for drama, the genre fits Pattinson well, but this role helps explore a different side to him – something darker, deeper. Connie is manipulative, cruel, selfish, and as the narrative plays out, his true traits come to light.

Supported by a strong cast, including Jennifer Jason Leigh as Connie’s spoilt girlfriend/cash machine, every performance is solid, believable; these characters exist in real life, and you wouldn’t want to cross their paths.

With a crescendo of an ending, Good Time is just that. From its fast pace to the loud, brash electronica soundtrack (which fills the room and, at times, really disorientates the viewer), the Safdies have created a hard-to-swallow drama, one that allows Pattinson to really break away, giving us something we haven’t seen from him before.

Good Time opens in UK cinemas on 17 November.

Find a screening: curzonartificialeye.com/good-time

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