Starring Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, Taliah Webster, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barkhad Abdi
If you find yourself interested in seeing the latest Safdie Brothers Film Good Time, you will need to ask yourself two questions. First, re you a big Robert Pattinson (Twilight) fan? Do you like wasting time and money? If you answered yes to both or either, Good Time might be an experimental thriller worth your eyes. If you answered no, just remember, there are no refunds. The hostile film has two opening sequences, both where the 80’s futuristic sounding Blade Runner style musical score aims to assault your eardrums while drowning out much of the dialogue. On first-frame this bleak and unconventional drama assumes the late-night Showtime vibe of the mid-nineties, and that’s where it remains.
Constantine “Connie” Nikas (Pattinson) and his mentally challenged brother Nick (Safdie) pull off a ridiculous bank robbery that doesn’t go as they planned. They are separated while on the run, Nick is badly injured and arrested, leaving Connie to figure out how to save his dependent. His first idea is to milk and manipulate his wealthy cougar slag (Leigh) for the 10k bond. When that doesn’t work, breaking his brother out of the cop infested hospital is the second option. Another bust, leads him to a 16-year-old girl living in the slums who lends him her grandmothers car for some sexual exploits. Selling drugs, dying his hair platinum and a police chase through an amusement park, pulls Connie farther away from his ultimate goal.
The Safdie brothers seem more interested in the technical elements of the story (lighting, editing, score) than the narrative.
The editing and the original score by Daniel Lopatin are spastically in sync through most of the film. We are pushed and pulled from one trashy setting to another while Pattinson tries to hide behind one of his most transformative roles yet. It doesn’t work, because he is always still Pattinson, desperately trying to shed the role that made him famous in the first place. Every character looks and feels like they are doing activities in this script that will land them on Jerry Springer’s stage the following morning. What begins as a robbery gone wrong thriller, quickly turns into scene after scene of plot reformation.
Good Time becomes so repulsive that it creates a disconnect for audiences looking for a smidgen of redeeming value or even someone who has bathed recently. The Safdie brothers seem more interested in the technical elements of the story (lighting, editing, score) than the narrative. Pattinson pushes the narrative on the page by running from one location to another, but there isn’t a real performance to his madness, it’s more reaction than anything. We start with a chase for two people we don’t know or understand, followed by an entire film with characters with whom the script never scratches the surface.