After a botched bank robbery lands his younger brother in prison, Connie Nikas embarks on a twisted odyssey through the city's underworld in an increasingly desperate-and dangerous-attempt to get his brother Nick out of jail.
Set over one summer, the film follows precocious six-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Walt Disney World.
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods.
Motivated by an almost ferocious love for his intellectually disabled brother, Nick, and an explosive mix of desperation and thirst for a better life, the abrasive and fledgeling criminal, Connie, involves his sibling in an ill-conceived bank robbery that swears to be a quick and easy job. Instead, things go utterly wrong, and Nick will wind up in Rikers Island after one unanticipated complication, forcing the desperate but determined Connie to embark on a nightmarish, no-holds-barred quest to bail Nick out. Inevitably, over the course of a long and violent night, Connie will go to great lengths to save Nick from a cruel fate, doomed, however, to do more harm than good. Is it all heading somewhere?Written by
Cinematographer Sean Price Williams about the decision to shoot on 35mm film: "I have an abiding love for film and love watching films shot on film. It's a flexible, versatile recording medium that you can use to create very nostalgic or naturalistic aesthetics. But I also like to electrify the filmed image and colors, especially strong colors, look great on film. Combined with it's grain structure, film is made for a stimulating picture that is easier to create on set and more interesting to watch than a digital interpretation. Film sees what is in front of you on set; it's alive. However, I was not interested in contemporary naturalism for the mainstay of this production. After the bank job takes place, I wanted Good Time to become a surreal nightmare and to get as wild and as expressive as I could with the visuals." See more »
In the end credits the directors thank the fast food chain Pizza Hut for using it as a location, but Connie and his brother Nick actually went to a Domino's shop. See more »
Good Time is a small movie about small people doing small things. But never let it be said that it's dreary or dull. This movie somehow took the edgy anxiety of a waking nightmare, bottled it up, and put it on the screen so you'd leave the theater in a cold sweat. If the DVD/Blu-ray release of Good Time doesn't have a critic blurb saying "this movie gave me indigestion," I'll be sorely disappointed.
The setup is simple: a wanted man (Pattinson) tries to raise the money for bail to get his mentally handicapped brother (Safdie) out of prison. The two had held up a bank earlier that day and throughout the night, Connie resorts to dubious and dangerous lengths to avoid punishment and consequence.
In an interview with NPR co-director and co-star Benny Safdie said "We wanted to deliver a piece of pulp that actually felt dangerous." With that in mind cinematographer Sean Price Williams shot on 35mm and much of the movie is loaded with claustrophobic close-ups and delirious hand-held sweeps. The 35mm film bleeds into the New York nocturne. The punishing fluorescents and neon glints that makeup the movie's milieu taunts our protagonist as he spins his wheels round and round. It's a movie that recaptures the intimacy and intensity of a 4am sneak-about.
Even in calmer moments, the film pulses in its nervy desperation. The various innocents the come across Connie's path are more-or-less looking for the same thing, a way out of the mess. They approach their situations with variant levels of legality but never with Pattinson's level of sleaze or sense of entitlement. Despite this, Connie proves remarkably resourceful; one minute his back is up against a corner, the next he's clawed his way out and slumping towards the next hurdle of his odyssey. One can't help but think that if Connie put his mind towards anything other than crime, he'd be on the cover of a business magazine.
Instead he's in an unending fever dream whereby the urban sprawl is the water to his drowning rat. At its height, Good Time has the sparseness and clarity of a John Steinbeck novel and at its most pedestrian it still has the chaotic energy of The 25th Hour (2002).
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