In watching Good Time, you forget that actor Robert Pattinson was ever involved with the Twilight franchise with what is the best performance of his career.
Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie from a screenplay written by Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein, the crime thriller stars Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Benny Safdie, Barkhad Abdi, Taliah Webster, Peter Verby, and Buddy Duress.
Good Time takes us to the streets of New York and follows the Nikas brothers, Constantine “Connie” Nikas (Pattinson) and Nick Nikas (Safdie), as they run from the cops following a bank robbery in Queens. It’s thought to be a successful robbery at first but the bank teller made sure that it was botched when the exploding dye goes off in the getaway car.
The film, however, is bookended at the start and finish by younger brother Nick meeting with a psychiatrist (Verby). If you think Verby looks familiar, he’s a criminal lawyer in real life. As Nick starts to respond to the questions, one starts getting the idea that he’s mentally handicapped. This is later confirmed by his older brother Connie. The two brothers couldn’t be more different from each other.
While Connie is successful in evading the cops, his brother Nick is not. Nick ends up crashing into a sliding door so the cops arrest him and book him in jail. It’s while he’s waiting around in jail where he gets horribly beat up and taken to a hospital. Upon finding this news, Connie wants to break him out while trying to keep his own ass from getting arrested.
Halfway through the film, we’re introduced to Ray (Duress), a parolee who teams up with Connie to sale some liquid LSD. As Ray’s backstory is discovered, the film inches closer and closer to its climax as they travel to Adventureland to find the missing LSD. It doesn’t end well for security guard Dash (Akbi).
Good Time does a great job with exploring how both Connie and Nick are affected differently by the botched robbery. All Connie wants to do is get away from their grandmother, who doesn’t speak any English at all.
“We are obsessed with characters who live in the present,” says Josh Safdie. “Time is the enemy — always — and the present exists outside of time. Our characters never know what the next day or even hour might bring. These are forgotten, overlooked people who could disappear in a second, which is part of their beauty and allure.”
Pattinson disappears into the role. With his bleached hair, hoodies, and New York accent, we forget that the British actor got his monstrous break in the Twilight franchise. What he does with the role is simply career-defining.
“It’s always important to us that we love our characters, they are heroes, always,” Josh Safdie says of Pattinson. “They refuse to accept the status quo of life and try their best to make their mark. With Rob, we found an extremely charming and likable man — but also an incredible paradox. He could create this electric fuse of an outsider who also desperately wants to connect. When you’re writing for someone, you must bring a piece of him to the character. I think Rob’s true essence captures a sense of yearning and vulnerability in Connie that I find incredibly endearing.”
One thing that I didn’t understand was the need to wait nearly a half an hour before displaying the opening credits. If the opening credits aren’t displayed on screen after the first five to ten minutes of film, it’s best to just wait until the end of the movie. By waiting a half hour following the start of the film, it just serves to defeat the purpose.
A24 opened Good Time in select theaters on August 11, 2017 before a slow expansion.