Good Time, directed by the Safdie brothers, Benny and Josh, is a stress-inducing, pulsating heist film. Written by Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein, the film follows Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) as he unsuccessfully robs a bank with his intellectually disabled brother Nick (Benny Safdie) and spends the rest of the film trying to free him from jail. He just needs to raise $10,000 as quickly as possible to pay his brother’s bail: That’s right, this is anything but a good time.
Good Time takes place over the span of less than a day, which creates an urgency and intensity to the film’s pacing. The helplessness and sense of panic Connie feels trying to get Nick released, translates to the audience through the unique way the film is shot and Robert Pattinson’s, as well as the supporting casts, performances. Pattinson’s performance is undeniably one of the best he’s given (I have yet to see The Lighthouse!) and his taking on these more nuanced and complex characters makes me intrigued to see what roles he’ll take on in the future. Pattinson’s Connie is a character that leans on his brother, his girlfriend Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and anyone else that’ll let him. He gets people into situations, and then leaves them to suffer the consequences. Yet, even though he does questionable things for self gain, his desperation to get his brother out of jail (even though his fault), means we follow along: we’re captivated and charmed just like the other characters in the film. Everyone gets tangled in Connie’s destructive web even, in a self-sabotaging way, himself.
There are continual setbacks and complications that Connie’s character runs into, but watching him weasel his way out of these situations is what makes the film so engrossing. I found that Buddy Duress’ Ray added a lot in the way of humour and that his characterisation as another guy wrapped in criminal-doings propelled the narrative forward. The characters in the film feel real and their actions and reactions fitting. Nothing is glossed over. There’s one scene in particular regarding a teenager named Crystal (Taliah Webster), that just feels wrong and cringe. But again, realistic.
The element that stood out to me most about Good Time is how it looks and feels. The cinematography by Sean Price Williams and the way the film is shot adds vigour to each scene. The way we’re zoomed in to the action watching the story unfold adds to its realism, while also making the audience feel complicit. This way of filming makes us feel on edge and unsettled because the restless energy never lets up, perfect for the tone of the film. Vivid colours make the film even more hectic and chaotic to watch, putting us in the same frantic state of mind as Connie. At times the film feels like it’s had a dose from the LSD bottle that features in it.
Good Time is exhilarating and suspenseful. Constant curveballs keep you invested, and Pattinson’s performance is phenomenal. The Safdie brothers, with style and ability, have created a bustling and buoyant film that resonates and is memorable.