Film Review: ‘Good Time’

Another home run from A24, ‘Good Time’ is a neo-noir odyssey, and if you manage to pry your hand from over your eyes, you’ll see Robert Pattinson redefine his career.

Directed by Ben and Josh Safdie, the fast-paced crime drama follows Connie Nikas (Pattinson) on a twisted series of misadventures, each more desperate than the last, as he tries to rescue his brother Nick (Ben Safdie) after a botched heist of Connie’s design lands him in prison. Unease builds as Connie’s quest forces him deeper and deeper into the city’s underworld.

This is a dark film, but it never verges on gratuitous.

Outside of subject material, the filmmakers use several motifs to cultivate malaise. Close ups are much too close and periodically crowd the frame, a sense of claustrophobia trailing in their wake. Scenes of argument, often rendered unintelligible by stylistic editing, contain a rhythm that builds and builds the tension, lingering there for an anxious moment, until it reaches a breaking point and explodes. I would be seriously remiss if I did not mention Oneohtrix Point Never’s haunting electronic score, which creates the perfect atmosphere to accompany the film.

Also laudable is Good Time’s refreshing take on the anti-hero. No, not a lovable scamp who’s ruff around the edges, but a complete piece of shit human being. The real triumph of the film is making you sympathize with an almost wholly irredeemable character. We admire, at times, Connie’s criminal shrewdness. We understand that while his means may be immoral, his cause is somewhat noble. Mostly, however, we are captivated by his descent, his increasingly desperate and despicable decision-making. We shutter at his actions, and root for him nonetheless.

And post-heartthrob Pattinson is magnetic. Looking grubby and decidedly not sparkling in the brief glimpses of sunlight that bookend the film, Pattinson murders the role, lending a captivating authenticity to the unorthodox protagonist.

My only complaint, nitpicky though it may be, is his name. Connie. It’s a little on the nose.

Good Time, a dark and original crime drama, is an excellent film, and worthy watch for Pattinson’s performance alone.

‘Good Time’ hits theaters August 11th

Photo courtesy of IMDB

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