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Good Time - Movie Review

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Good Time - Movie Review

4 starsGood Time is the rare but surprisingly effective example of what can happen when a couple of burgeoning filmmakers looking to make a name for themselves are given some money and access to a few big name Hollywood stars. Rarely are such up-and-comers ever given a shot at the big time, and even more infrequently do they ever deal such a damaging body-blow to Hollywood’s mid-section. But that’s exactly what they do with Good Time, a sleazy, nasty live-wire of a film that spends most of its time cracking and popping in the filthy gutters of New York City. Good Time manages to “out-Hollywood” Hollywood. And in this age of sequels, prequels, and origin stories, that’s always a good thing.

The filmmakers are the Safdie brothers (Ben and Josh) who’ve dabbled in a number of low-to-no-budget shorts and documentaries, and the stars are Robert Pattinson (yes, that Robert Pattinson) and Academy Award nominees Jennifer Jason Leigh and Barkhad Abdi. Pattinson completely disappears into his role as Connie Nikas, a snake of a ne’er-do-well whom we meet at the beginning of the film as he is pulling his mentally challenged brother Nick (played by director Ben Safdie) from a therapy session. Together, the two will spend most of the next day robbing banks, running from the police, and otherwise making one bad decision after another. Connie is one of those knock-around hoodlums who fires from the hip with desperation as his motivation, and bad luck as the results.

The remainder of the film is a debauched ride through the grimy streets of the city as Connie attempts to free Nick from Riker’s Island prison following a failed bank robbery, then later, help him escape from his guarded room at the hospital. Along the way, mistaken identities, trips through a run-down amusement park, and the dirty corners of Queens provide a deliciously salacious setting.

We’re never quite sure where Good Time is going next, and that’s one of its most satisfying traits. It unfolds with an unexpected freshness that feels as if the Safdies are making it up as they go along. Maybe they are. How else does one explain such successfully chaotic filmmaking that doesn’t follow the established rules? It always feels frantic and desperate, everything lit in bright neon with short takes and choppy editing. The characters don’t really make sense and many of their motivations seems shaky at best. But it all just works.

When all is said and done, Good Time will be remembered for Pattinson’s brilliant performance that holds up despite any lack of sympathy for his Connie. With this single role, Pattinson emerges from his vampire pigeonhole and morphs into a full-fledged, legitimate A-lister. The guy is legit and will undoubtedly have a full slate going forward.

Leigh is underused but makes the most of her screen time as Connie’s equally slimy girlfriend and reluctant enabler, while bird-faced Buddy Duress gets the laughs with his mistaken identity, Ray, and Abdi holds his own as an amusement park night guard.

Good Time isn’t going to appeal to everyone. But taken in with one eye closed and the other peeking through barely-parted fingers it becomes one of the summer’s more pleasant unpleasant surprises. There’s nothing feel-good about it, and with characters better suited for the outer fringes of society, it has very flattering little to say about the good inside us all. But, damn, it’s just a lot of fun to watch!

Good Time - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R.
110 mins
: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie
Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, Taliah Webster
: Crime | Thriller

Memorable Movie Quote: "I've just gotta get him out of there before something bad happens. He could get killed in there."
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 25, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: A bank robber finds himself unable to evade his pursuers.

No details available.

Good Time - Movie Review

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