Good Time, 2017.
Written and Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie.
Starring Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, Buddy Duress, Taliah Webster, Barkhad Abdi, and Jennifer Jason Leigh.
When a bank robbery goes wrong, a small-time criminal must attempt to save his handicapped brother, while also avoiding capture himself.
Since wrapping up the Twilight series five years ago, Robert Pattinson has done his utmost to distance himself from his teen heart-throb image. Long gone are the days of glittering skin and emotional vampires, these days Pattinson is an indie darling, working with some of the most distinct and challenging directors in cinema, and establishing himself as one of the most diverse actors working today by taking on increasingly challenging roles. Good Time, more than ever of his previous efforts, really cements his place as one of the most interesting actors out there right now.
Pattinson is almost unidentifiable in the role of ‘Connie’, the movie’s central character; his iconic quiff is flattened and bleached and he is sporting an accent that is a far cry from what we have grown accustomed too. Pattinson has stated in several interviews that he studied and practised the Queens’ (no, not her maj, the New York neighbourhood) accent for months in preparation and it paid off in spades here. Not only does he nail the accent, but he also brings plenty of local colloquialisms to the role, which really adds an air of authenticity.
Okay, so as you can see from the review so far, Pattinson is the star of this movie, and this is undoubtedly one of the finest performances of 2017. There is, though, plenty more that Good Time has to offer. The film’s narrative plays out at a breakneck speed, as we watch Nico add more and more time to his inevitable jail sentence with each passing scene. Good Time is arguably a genre flick, but it feels as though it deserves in a whole new genre of its own – ‘Panic’. The film is basically a 90-minute panic attack, one that rarely lets up or stops for a breather.
Good Time is also a super-intensive tour of New York’s grimy, and often pathetic underworld. Nico as a character, like a lot of the people we meet in this movie, is dangerous, but more so, incompetent. He feels as though he is two steps from freedom and half a step away from capture. The film, like the characters, is dripping in this kind of sleazy incompetence, and it makes it feel all the more authentic and thrilling. Like the characters, you can’t shake the feeling you need a good shower after the credits have rolled.
At the core of this movie, though, there is an undeniably likeable relationship between Connie and his handicapped brother, Nick. When Nick is busted at the start of the movie, Connie’s quest to save his brother is perhaps the only admirable thing in this whole sleazy affair, and it makes for compelling viewing throughout its runtime. The script, written by the director Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein deserves a lot of credit here as well, adding not only tension but also quite a lot of humour to proceedings.
More than anything else, Good Time is a thrill ride of a movie. A rush of anxiety dripping in sleaze that will attract you as much as it will repulse you. It’s expertly crafted and written and features one of the finest performances of the year from Robert Pattinson.
Flickering Myth Rating: Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Liam Hoofe is a writer based in Madrid. You can follow him on Twitte @Liamhoofe