Review: Good Time

Good Time
9 10

PLOT: After a bank robbery gone wrong, a man (Robert Pattinson) desperately tries to raise $10,000 in bail money to free his mentally handicapped brother (Ben Safdie).

REVIEW: GOOD TIME is the latest film from The Safdie Brothers, whose last outing, HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT, earned raves and made them a cult item. With their next feature apparently being backed by Martin Scorsese and starring Jonah Hill, GOOD TIME, which hits a middle ground between a gonzo indie vibe and something more mainstream, is a movie that deserves to be on every film fan’s radar. These guys are the real deal.

Proudly displaying their Scorsese influence (who’s thanked in the closing credits), GOOD TIME is a bit like MEAN STREETS if it had focused solely on Robert De Niro’s Johnny Boy. Shockingly, star Robert Pattinson makes for an ideal De Niro stand-in, with his Connie Nikas a staggering change-of-pace for the actor. If enough people see this, it’ll officially end his TWILIGHT heartthrob days and mark him as an actor to watch, similar to what former co-star Kristen Stewart’s latest films have done for her.

Connie is a tough part, with him basically an unlikable scuzz-bag throughout. Not particularly bright, he’s a low-level wannabe bank robber, who makes the grievous sin of making his handicapped brother, Nick (played by one of the directors, Ben Safdie) his accomplice. He’s redeemed only by the fact that he genuinely loves his brother, and even though he’s a wanted man, with his face all over the evening news, he tries to raise the 10K he needs for an unscrupulous bail bondsman to get his brother out of lock-up.

Over a razor-sharp ninety minutes, we accompany Connie on his hellish decent into NYC, doing what he can to raise the cash, which includes seducing his older, flaky sugar momma girlfriend (a hilarious Jennifer Jason Leigh), and manipulating a sixteen-year-old (newcomer Taliah Webster) into having a crush on him so she doesn’t reveal his identity to the cops. With a heady mix of comedy and drama, mixed in with a genuinely seedy atmosphere (I never knew directors could still make gentrified NYC seem gritty), GOOD TIME is more like a great time throughout.

Pattinson is a stunningly good lead, managing to hold onto at least a shred of the audience’s sympathy throughout; even through we’re not quite rooting for him to pull off his plan. Safdie himself has a challenging part as the severely handicapped brother, who’s plucked from his social worker’s office in the very first scene by his wired brother. The supporting cast is similarly strong, with Webster and Leigh stealing scenes, and an amusing turn by Safdie-regular Buddy Duress as an even seedier criminal Connie teams up with in an effort to get some high-grade acid to sell. CAPTAIN PHILLIPS’ Barkhad Abdi also pops up as a sympathetic security guard who falls prey to their antics, and between this and EYE IN THE SKY, he’s showing some pretty good range.

One thing definitely worth singling out is the amazing synth score by Oneohtrix Point Never, which appropriately sounds like Tangerine Dream on acid, and is the perfect accompaniment to DP Sean Price Williams’s neon soaked visuals. GOOD TIME is another A24 pick-up, proving that the company’s eclectic tastes are second-to-none, and it’s a really impressive piece of summer counterprogramming that deserves to be a SPRING BREAKERS-style breakout cult hit. It’s absolutely top-notch entertainment for those with more unconventional tastes, and a hallucinogenic late summer treat. This is one that’s not to be missed.

Extra Tidbit: It's also worth noting that Pattinson was really good in THE LOST CITY OF Z, even if he got a little carried away with his mumbling, a trait he doesn't indulge in here.
Source: JoBlo.com



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