Good Time (2017) Poster

(2017)

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8/10
A thrilling, neon-drenched subterranean madcap odyssey anchored by a superbly nervy Robert Pattinson
sossevarvo29 June 2017
The new feature from the Safdie Brothers, Good Time, is utterly incontrovertible proof of Robert Pattinson's talent. A skilled young actor who broke out young, Pattinson, like his equally skilled former co-star Kristen Stewart, has been plagued by his "Twilight" image, and accordingly (and unjustly) derided because of his involvement. The truth is that both Pattinson and Stewart are audacious and feverishly talented young actors, and Good Time will convince all who see it that Robert Pattinson is a fearless and versatile actor.

As an ashen-faced, stubble-laden, nervy-eyed criminal thrust into a constantly escalating trip into the recesses of city nightlife, where stakes are always high, Pattinson relishes in the opportunity to inhabit this character and fully realise all his traits. His pretty-boy-image disappears into an expertly assembled composite of agitated mannerisms and a thick Bronx-like brogue.

The film excels in its visuals. The Safdies adore neon light, which leads to many memorable neon-drenched sequences, such as an extended sequence in a haunted-house theme park that reels in the tension. Much of the film takes place at night, allowing for some atmospheric, neo-noir vibes to come to the fore. What also must be credited is the unrelenting pace of the film, living up to its cheeky title through constantly escalating stakes, a thunderously exciting electronic score and a plot that keeps throwing delightfully absurd and insane twists to keep you constantly engaged. Good Time been likened a lot to Dog Day Afternoon, Sidney Lumet's taut and incredible bank-heist-gone-wrong film, and it's a comparison that is apt, if a bit flattering; the Safdies come close to matching that film's inspired lunacy and delirious tension, through a decidedly more modern aesthetic.

The Safdies directorial style is unique, and I'll be honest it at times got on my nerves. I noticed early on that almost every shot is a close up, often hand-held, which can feel claustrophobic, but also just irritating. That being said, I grew used to the style, and eventually understood its purpose, in buttressing the manic instability of its protagonist, and his morally questionable odyssey. Even so, the style was not always seamless with the narrative. Make sure you don't sit too close to the screen when you watch this film.

Good Time is an exciting, pulsating, modernised noir/New Hollywood thriller that deserves a lot of praise for its terrific suspense and Pattinson's bravura turn.
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A minor classic of crime and love.
jdesando24 August 2017
"I think something very important is happening and it's deeply connected to my purpose." Connie (Robert Pattinson)

The depth in the heist-gone-wrong Good Time is the way the director brothers Safdie take us through the seedy side of NYC and the fraught love between Connie and his mentally disabled brother, Nick (Benny Safdie). These two are not bright enough to carry off a heist, proved by Connie's clumsily eluding NYPD and continuing to search for a pot of gold that will give him and his brother the peaceful life they are not meant for.

Here is a heist movie with a heart and enough cinematic savvy to make it an instant classic.

Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men lingers behind the devoted brothers, and Martin Scorses's Mean Streets and Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon provide the paradigm for clueless hoods confronting the underlife in their daily lives. In fact, interesting characters like mothers and minorities dance out of scenes almost as fast as they enter. Yet naturalism pervades the proceedings as different lowlifes and poor minorities come and go the way they would in NYC at night in the world of thieves and good but poor people.

Corey Ellman (Jennifer Jason-Leigh) is Connie's sometime girlfriend, who supplies money and hope for a vacation to Puerto Vallarta, neither of which is destined to happen. The actress is so fine, as she always is in indies, that her vanishing seems normal under the circumstances and lamentable for the audience.

Sequences such as the mayhem in an amusement park and a hospital teeter on the surreal while the frenetic action continues apace. The directors are geniuses with the close-ups, perhaps the dominant proxemic of the film. Much credit must go to Sean Price Williams' cinematography, which could have been the standard jittery hand held if it weren't so elegantly moving the characters through the night with frenetic abandon and inevitable doom.

Rob Pattinson has come a long way from the Twilight series, being the actor I am sure he wanted to be beyond his somber character in the famous series. Pattinson is the center of the action, withstanding the tyranny of the close up and a character so crazy with love for his brother that we root for Connie although he's a small-time hood without a real plan.
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8/10
Frantic and Fantastic
Jared_Andrews19 September 2017
If I could ever experience what it's like to be a neon light inside a crowded nightclub, I imagine it would feel a lot like watching Good Time.

This movie exudes intensity, electricity, and neonicity (not a real word, just roll with it). The opening scene provides the movie's blandest color scheme, but it's serious and compelling and important, so pay attention.

From there, the movie leaps fearlessly into a techno blasting, adrenaline surging, rush of mayhem and terrible decision making. Two brothers rob a bank, run from the police, and one ends up in the hospital. Then it gets worse.

Constantine (played by Robert Pattinson, in a career-making performance) lives a life of dysfunction. He struggles to maintain healthy relationships with family or friends or anyone. The one thing in his life that he's sure of is that he wants to take care of his brother, who has intellectual disabilities. He spends a majority of the film frantically (frantic accurately describes the mood for most of Good Time) attempting to save his brother from the trouble that he put him in. The problem is that Constantine can't even properly take care of himself, so helping his brother is far beyond his abilities.

Try as he may, every attempt to help backfires. Despite Constantine's good intentions, he is a powerfully negative influence in his brother's life. He sees himself as his brother's savior, but that's very far from the truth.

It's tempting to sympathize with Constantine. He has real moments of decency. But just when you may think this isn't such a bad guy, he showcases another instance of unsavory behavior. That seems to be the story of his life—fleeting moments of hope, followed by swift slaps of grim reality that are mostly brought on by his own doing.

In the end, his brother, Nick, becomes the more likable character. We want what is best for Nick, just like Constantine does. Because of this shared goal, I want Constantine to succeed. I have never rooted harder for a character that I didn't really want to root for. That's all because of Nick.

Since this is sounding deeply dramatic, let me reiterate, this isn't a plodding sob story. The frantic pace, ludicrously rousing music and color scheme will make your eyes bug out and your hair stand up. Actually, you may literally stand up at certain moments because of the intensity.

See Good Time if you're up for an intense crime thriller. Just don't forget to think while watching. There's more to this movie than neon and techno.
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Good Time (2017, The Safdie Brothers) review
Darksidecrew5 August 2017
Good Time (2017, The Safdie Brothers) This is a wonderfully gritty crime film that is mostly set over one night. It has the sensibilities of a 70's film and feels like a film Abel Ferrera would want to make is he had any talent. The story follows a bank robber (Robert Pattinson)who finds himself unable to evade those who are looking for him. The acting is superb but the tone of the film might not be for everyone as its a loud, messy world of agitation and intensity that is quite tiring. I personally thought it was great and got a lot out of it and loved the style of presentation from the credits and cinematography to the great synth' score. 7.5-8/10
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8/10
a thrill ride from start to finish..
stephenw-301803 November 2017
I thoroughly enjoyed this film on several levels. The acting, direction and story line were all done extremely well. It was original and there is an element of commitment of love through the forced negative acts of the desperate protagonist.

I also have to say I enjoyed the psychedelic score which worked well with the pace of the film. Last, I grew up in the neighborhood much of the film is shot in so I am somewhat biased. This, however, is not what makes the film so good.

Pattinson is brilliant as the Big brother trying to make a better life for himself and his learning disabled brother. A bank robbery they attempt goes wrong and the remainder of the film is an attempt to recover his brother from a hospital after getting caught and beat up in jail.

I won't give any more away but have to say the film is thought provoking, exciting and fast paced. I also felt it was quite realistically done in the way each character plays their parts.

The only thing I found annoying was the credits ran into 22+ minutes of the film. Otherwise, a tremendous effort and success for the Safdie Brothers.
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7/10
Great Effort by Little Known Directors
michaeltrivedi5 January 2018
This is a pretty good movie. It starts off very fresh and thrilling, as two brothers rob a bank. We envision this movie being a fantastic heist or crime thriller. It sort of does that, but goes in a couple of weird, but pleasing, directions. By that I mean the movie never stops on the thrills, but takes us in directions we would never envision it to go. It is not a step by step movie, which is great about it. What can be perceived as boring, space fillers, turns out to be effective and concludes in a very pleasing space. On a different note, Pattinson does not shine in this film as was expected.

Not Oscar worthy, but definitely a great ride of 2017.

7 Stars
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8/10
Bleak, Chaotic and Endlessly Fascinating
bkrauser-81-31106425 August 2017
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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6/10
Uninteresting story-line
jaapeelman7 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I watched this movie due to the high score on IMDb.com (7.7) but it was a disappointment. It starts with the bank-robbery and when the lady went away to get more money I suspected the cops or guards would storm in but she just handed over more money. OK, after a while a paint-bomb went off but they were able to remove the paint very quickly and easily. Than a lot is going on and not much of it makes sense or is of any interest at all. The movie is a bit boring and the story-line lacks interesting events to happen and a lot of non logic stuff f.i. the 16- year black girl who follows the "smarter" brother in everything he does. Yeah, right.... No, this movie is one to forget quickly and absolutely not worth more than a 6 out of 10.
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2/10
Wha ???
brooklynjm4 September 2017
Don't quite understand the very high ratings for this -- I picture friends of the producer, or interns at the distributor working away to find new ways to praise with faint damns. I saw it at BAM in Brooklyn, and the mostly hipster audience sat in stunned silence throughout - with occasional relieved chuckles at the few flashes of stupidity that came off as funny. Loud, violent, all closeups and menacing pretentious music unrelated to the action.

Pattinson indeed breaks his pretty boy mold, and works very hard - but a lot of "fucks" and running very fast down urban streets does not constitute a breakout performance. JL Leigh does her usual sterling job as a frighteningly dumb victim -- but she was on screen for maybe 4 minutes. The only performance that worked was the 16yo girl Crystal -- Taliah Webster seemed to inherently get the power of underplaying, and she did it brilliantly. Of course, she disappears as the whole mess grinds down, ceding the screen to the boys.

The coda at the end was indeed touching - but not in the way the director(s) may have intended. Actual (?) mentally disabled clients in treatment were shown in a therapy group as the credits rolled -- they were sweet and fascinating, but they were being used - hard - in a commercial film, as a career move by a millionaire actor.

Also, for a story trading so freely in the Queens, NY milieu - the sudden emergence of a large haunted house fun park, setting for a pointlessly violent beating of one of the few interesting characters, followed by giving him a huge dose of LSD -- was ridiculous. Not gritty, just cruel & pointless.

I debated a few seconds between a 2 or 3 rating -- but honesty won out. It's a 2.
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8/10
Robert Pattinson on the go!
Ramascreen1 August 2017
#GoodTime is a fantastic insomniac crime comedy/thriller with the fully determined & daring #RobertPattinson. It's like if "Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels" met "Trainspotting" and had a Red Bull-fueled baby. It's entertaining through and through.

Directed by Josh and Ben Safdie, Robert Pattinson plays Constantine Nikas who commits a botched bank robbery that lands his younger brother in prison. The rest of the film shows Nikas' dangerous attempt in a span of one crazy night just to get his brother out. Madness, mayhem and violence ensue as he also tries to evade the consequences of his actions.

I haven't watched "Heaven Knows What," but I am now definitely a big fan of the Safdie brothers after "Good Time" because their vision and craftsmanship are simply hypnotic. Not only do they play with neons and glows but also almost the entire time, the film is done with close-up shots which tightly frames the characters so much so that it intensifies the story's unpredictability.

The characters in "Good Time" may not be quite as dumb as the characters in the Coen Brothers' crime comedies, but they're quite rudderless. Nikas knows that his main objective is his brother, but he doesn't have a clear plan. He's got bits and pieces of what can be considered close to a plan but for the most part, he just wings it, which makes this whole thing hilarious. It's as if the script intentionally throws a curve ball at him every other five minutes or so, you see him encounter unexpected blunders, mostly of his own doing as he's winging it from one cluster- mess after another. He's always on the go. And Robert Pattinson is marvelous, some say this is his breakout performance, I say it's the performance that no one else but him could play. Pattinson becomes this desperate loser, part of you empathizes with him but part of you wants to see him get what he deserves. "Good Time" is a helluva way to end this summer season at the movies.

-- Rama's Screen --
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3/10
Pointless writing, terrible screenplay and awful score = pointless toxicity that left me feeling sketchy, stale, empty and cold
TheTopDawg5 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Not sure why this film has such a high rating.

For starters, the sound/score must be the worst I have experienced in any film - so bad, that had it been different, I may have enjoyed the film a little more (and perhaps added at least two more points to my rating). It was way too overpowering, evident and distracting. Having a popular electronic musician doesn't make the score good, acceptable or appropriate to a particular film. Had an amateur composer submitted something more fitting that worked, I wouldn't have spent this much time critiquing it. It just didn't make any sense, nor contribute (if anything, it detracted) to what the viewer is supposed to feel. It made me feel sketchy throughout the entire film.

Then there's the pointless writing... starts off with a normal planned-out heist for the first part of the film, then stupid decisions to get another 10k, or was it 15k? Why not save us all the pain and agony and go rob another bank with a note for the rest of the money? Dumb, just dumb. There is no way a seemingly effortless bank robbery could end up with such bad decisions afterwards. Very far fetched and I didn't buy into the premise. Sure it's different, but pointless and unreal. I expected much more and was left very unsatisfied. There were many plot holes in the screenplay, dragged out scenes, too slowly paced and no proper resolution or climax to this film.

It's a very generous 3/10 from me as I had a Bad Time watching this pointless toxicity that left me feeling sketchy, stale, empty and cold.
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6/10
Good Time is good but doesn't make it to the finish line
hollywoodhernandez-7086822 August 2017
Good Time is a dark and gritty crime drama that is set to a driving techno beat and takes place on the streets of New York City. The movie begins with two brothers botching a bank robbery job where one brother Nick, played by co-director Benny Safdie, gets caught and sent to prison and the other brother, Robert Pattinson (from the Twilight movies) ends up on the run, pursued by the authorities and trying to find a way to get his brother out of jail.

Both actors give stellar performances. Nick (Benny Safdie) as the mentally challenged brother and Robert Pattenson gives such a hard core performance as brother Connie you'll easily forget he was a teen heart throb vampire in the Twilight movies. The movie starts off with a bang (literally) with plenty of action and a musical soundtrack that keeps you enthralled. (The soundtrack is probably one of the 5 best of the year.) The problem for me was at some point the movie turns into "Groundhog Day" with the same situations happening over and over again. It's a movie that ends with a whimper.

I give the movie high marks for its direction by the brothers team of Benny and Josh Safdie and the visuals on the big screen are stunning; it's just that the story is a little weak. It doesn't have quite enough to bring the movie all the way to the finish line.

Good Time has a run time of 1 hour and 40 minutes and it earns its strong "R" rating with plenty of violence, sex and drugs.

When I go to a movie the first question I ask myself is, "was it entertaining?" Unfortunately that would include the entire movie. The final third of the film almost bored me to sleep. On my "Hollywood Popcorn Scale" I give Good Time a MEDIUM. Hollywood Hernandez
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1/10
Watch it with the sound off, it will make more sense
mr-navy-bean28 August 2017
One of the worst, laziest, illogical, empty films I have EVER seen. I cannot believe the critics on this. It really makes me think the system is dirty.

This is a loud, boring, nonsensical movie. There are plot holes everywhere, long shots of cars driving on the street, loud music, and a laughably (not intentional) sentimental ending. I could (but won't) list all the lazy, sloppy and idiotic choices this movie makes, but I don't blame the filmmakers.

I blame the "film critics" who can't see the difference between a good movie and a complete waste of time and money. Only A.O. Scott recuses himself.
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9/10
A Panic Attack!
xtian_durden14 November 2017
Few films can make you feel as edgy as its protagonist. The whole film feels like a panic attack; thanks to the tight and intense camera-work, Daniel Lopatin's throbbing score, Robert Pattinson's another brilliant performance that recalls the great Al Pacino in "Dog Day Afternoon", and not to be forgotten is Ben Safdie (who also co-directed this film with his brother, Joshua) as Pattinson's mentally challenged brother.

'Good Time' is such a vivid ride.
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10/10
Unsettling, Unwavering, Electrifying
Zakliz47712 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Good Time is an unrelenting edge of your seat thriller, that demonstrates the Safdie brothers mastery of both social realism and genre filmmaking. This film uses a b movie set up to hammer home an emotionally riveting story ladened with social commentary. The story is that of Connie a low level criminal who finds himself in increasingly desperate circumstances trying to free his brother whose taken the fall for a crime conceived by Connie. The brilliance of this film stems from the Safdie brothers no hold bars gorilla direction, and Robert Pattinson's powerful central performance. The direction of this film is energetic and eerie, with much of the film made using real locations and non professional actors. This makes the films various twists and turns palpably plausible. For example at one point the characters end up in a Dominos Pizza, desperate to hide. This moment comes off as entirely realistic and earned, where as in another movie it would come off as contrived. But by far the best aspect of this movie is Pattinson's central performance as Connie. Pattinson has taken a lot of flack over the years for his role in the Twilight films, but Good Time cements him not only as capable actor, but among the best working today. Seriously he's Oscar worthy here. All in all Good Time is film that shows the blossoming of both a pair of great new directors, and an actor fully realizing his craft.
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10/10
Stupidity is all the way to the bone.
dokrauss2 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
This is one hugely entertaining calamity after another as Connie Nikas (played by the wondrous Robert Pattison) tries to get his mentally challenged brother Nick out of Riker's Island after the two of them rob a bank. Connie's idea, ya know; he wanted to buy a farm where his brother could roam free. He also interferes with his brother's very beneficial treatment sessions. Connie's one of those guys who conflates family loyalty with an excuse for all kinds of mayhem and mishap and, man, is there mayhem and mishap galore in this movie. Every thirty minutes or so, there is a complete new cast of characters engaged in Connie's deranged plans. Watch it for that alone.
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8/10
The Vibrant, Hectic Cousin of Drive
leaugebrett14 November 2017
With Good Time, largely new directors the Safdie brothers present one of the most vibrant and gritty crime films in recent memory. The plot never stops to catch its breath, forcing main character Pattinson, who's acting blew me away considering his past films, to constantly adapt and evoke an engaging fight and flight response from scene to scene. The cinematography is electrifying, and the balance between wide landscape shots and claustrophobic closeups is constantly gripping. This movie is worth checking out for anyone looking for a well-directed and acted crime/thriller.
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2/10
I don1t see what is Good in this film
twmmy18 December 2017
Well, I've waited for this, not really hoping it will be good. I saw the Safdie's previous film, Heaven knows, and that showed me their path. They try to tell stories about failed people without any story. They are just filming what we can see on the streets every day. Not really big brain-work. I don't understand all the praising for this film about stupid crime man, who is dumb enough to get his disabled brother into trouble. It's only a bad fashion to like these films. Or it's all about the lack of intelligence of mankind.
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Good, Maybe ? Extremely Loud and annoying !
davidhosick20002 November 2017
This is my first review. Only managed to get through the first half an hour. This looked like it might have been a good film, as it started well, but had to turn it off , as the loud music spoiled it, to the point that it was almost unwatchable, and i was having to strain to hear what the actors were saying. The music LOUD !, INTENSE ! and NON STOP and really put me off the film.
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1/10
Lots of close-up
cekadah19 November 2017
If you like close-ups of Robert Pattinson's face this is the movie for you!

If you like close-ups of a damaged bandaged face this is the the movie for you!

If you like a weird flick of the darker confusing directionless incomprehensive hopeless lives of mentally unbalanced people this is the movie for you!

Otherwise steer a clear path of this flick.
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4/10
Good Movie -- Awful Cinematography
jacobnunnally5 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Great script, great performances, great storyline -- terrible cinematography. 95% of all shots were close-ups. Not kinda close up...extreme close up. The kind of close up where you can see the pores in a person's face. Not once or twice or even twenty times...this happens hundreds of times throughout the movie. There were so many close-ups, I had to leave the theatre a few minutes before the film ended because the headache it gave me became unbearable. Come on!

The cinematography is so bad that it crossed my mind that they might be showing a pirated version of the film, or that something might have gone wrong in the projection room to make it display improperly. (FYI I saw this at Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn.) For nearly every shot, I wanted the cameraman to take 10 steps back.

I've never seen anything like it. All of that hard work for nothing! With better cinematography the movie could have been an 8 or a 9. I've given it a 4 out of 10.
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8/10
Robert Pattinson shines in this hard-hitting NYC nightmare
PotassiumMan13 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The Safdie Brothers' newest film is a bleak, unflinching tale of a career criminal (Pattinson in the most intense performance of his career) who furiously objects to his mentally deficient brother's psychiatric treatment and blithely coerces him into helping him carry out a bank robbery. When their plans unexpectedly fall apart and the brother gets arrested, this lowlife proceeds to use every means possible to try to bail his brother out.

Pattinson's acting in the past has never caught fire the way it does here. It's a transformation. He completely embodies a born loser who has no other way to get through life other than lying, conning and flat out breaking the law. Simply put, if this is your first on-screen impression of Robert Pattinson, you've hit the jackpot. Benny Safdie is affecting as the mentally handicapped brother. By contrast, Jennifer Jason Leigh is regrettably under-utilized as the older female companion whose inclination toward generosity is misplaced with the criminal schemer. Taliah Webster gives a fine turn as the street-smart but still somewhat innocent Queens teenager who gets caught up in a web of crime and deception. And Buddy Duress is solid as Pattinson's random criminal accomplice.

A percolating, perpetually menacing soundtrack guides the skittish, volatile pace of this film in which there are plenty of moments of tension and ungovernable aggression. The hellish world that is presented here is alternately scary but also consoling in a weary-world kind of way, much like the 1970's films of Martin Scorsese back in the day. Here, iPhones, texting and newer New York news channels add to the mix of anger, misery and desperation.

This film has neither the pedigree nor the marketing for it to be considered an Oscar contender. It also hasn't been heavily touted; I watched it in a mostly empty theater in Manhattan. But it's still one of the most well-made films of the year- a potent story of the clash between family love and hopeless criminal tendencies, one that will leave its mark. Highly recommended.
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6/10
Enjoy the violence !
lenuctuc4 November 2017
Violence pays...but how much ? The whole movie is about making money in the old-fashioned gangsta style manner ...I didn't enjoy all the twists from bad to wrong , the unnecessary array of violence , the script has so many flaws and drawbacks that even Tarantino or the Cohen brother couldn't improve it. A movie about desperate , moronic under-dogs screwing up their lives in the pursuit of blood money . Nevertheless , there's a plus to the grim and debilitating mood of the movie : Robert Pattinson's great performance and the music. Otherwise , a deja-vu of clichés and an unpleasant waste of time !
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9/10
Relentless
morrishouse-799049 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
It's really hard to tell you about Good Time without giving anything away, because it's stuffed with more twists and turns than a maze. It has one exciting scene after another, with the few moments of quiet solemnity abbreviated by spontaneous paranoia. Each shot is tight and claustrophobic, employing more underused camera tricks than any average motion picture. It all oozes with seediness and atmosphere, but certainly does not achieve its sordid realism through clichés. Everything in the film is built naturally and with total ease. The performances are all pitch-perfect. Every actor possesses their character as if they were real people, to the point that you can identify their personality by one look at their face. For example, there is a scene where our lead, played by Robert Pattinson (in his finest role), comes into a house to make a phone call, and a teenager (played by a magnificent, currently non-professional actor), looks on with innocence but in her eyes inhabits a questionable amount of reckoning. At the end of the day though, the film truly belongs to directors Ben and Josh Safdie, who are obviously fascinated with the dark, grimy side of the ordinary, but two great talents that I hope to see more films from in the future. But overall, the film itself is a moody character piece and exhilarating exercise in existentialism with great performances all around.
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9/10
Devotion Blinds Responsibility
thirtyfivestories22 September 2017
Connie and Nick are brothers, but their ties are not limited to genetics. They are a symbiotic swirl of aggression and possibility. Together the two are impaired with an uncanny blindness. Barriers disappear and strangers' murmurs fizzle out. Their wild, dirt-etched plans are carried out with ferocity and total abandon. Running is their pastime, and they have become proficient dodgers.

Nick is viewed as a liability to society, and Connie is labeled as a danger to it. Newscasters reduce them to mugshots and sensational teleprompter poetry. The city needs villains. The cops need robbers. The pubic needs faces to fear. The brothers need to get to Virginia.

Not a single soul can decipher the calamity in Nick's head, not even Connie. A therapist chisels away at his cranium only to discover that Nick was raised in the wilderness. The professional world clashes with the feral, urban ghetto in a nauseating office. Connie fends off the emotional combat for his brother. Huddled in the corner of a descending elevator, he assures Nick that no one understands their pain.

They steal rather than earn; fight rather than accommodate. They are devoted brutes, writhing in uncontrollable suspicion. Sensitive to blue and red streams, and terrified of separation. Meandering upon steam-breathing streets like amputated Siamese twins. Their conjoined heart palpitates with neon intensity.

Connie has been educated by the cruelty of the city. The assaults upon his brother have toned his muscles and sharpened his wit. He is the unstoppable force that causes officers to be armed. He transcends the status of guardian. Connie is a fable of determination. His good deeds are shadowed by his actions, but his actions are birthed from his compassion.

​The brother's story is an expose on the concept of "good". Maybe we should redefine righteousness, and leave room for desperate souls. An "us versus them" mentality erodes the potential kindness of strangers. Connie subverts all social norms in route towards securing his brother's salvation. On this pilgrimage, a restless city tosses in its bed as a two brothers attempt to steal back their birthright of happiness.
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