Good Time - 2017
Good Time is directed and edited by Josh and Benny Safdie, following up 2014’s Heaven Know What. Josh also served as co-writer along with Ronald Bronstein, producing a screenplay balanced with moments of tension and levity. This movie was an official selection of 2017 Cannes’ Film Festival and nominated for Palme d'Or (Cannes’ highest price). It stars Robert Pattinson, as a bank robber trying to evade capture while trying to save his brother from jail.
There are many things to love about this movie and the main one is the screenplay. Josh and Ronald somehow managed to create a perfect balance between moments of pure tension and moments of levity and humanity. The story for the most part takes place during the span of a night. Patterson is trying to bail out his brother from jail before something bad happens to him. His desperation, coupled with the pure chaos around him, made for an uncomfortable viewing, and I mean that in the best possible sense. I was uncomfortable in my seat because I just wanted them to stop yelling or fighting and help Pattinson with his problem. On the other hand, I found myself laughing more than I expected throughout the movie, allowing me and the audience get a well-deserved break from the tension-filled scenes.
Part of the reason why the scenes are uncomfortable is how they are shot. Most of the movie, The Safdies and cinematographer Sean Price Williams placed the camera extremely close to their actors, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere. This effect mirrors how Pattinson feels with the police closing in on him as he doesn’t see an escape route. Other than the placement of the camera, William played with lighting using the neon lights of New York city to help give the film a visual distinction.
Quick note: Daniel Lopatin, or, as he is better known, Oneohtrix Point Never, produced the soundtrack and won the Cannes Soundtrack Award. Safe to say it was well-deserved. If you liked Drive’s soundtrack, you will love this one. It perfectly complements the events we are seeing unfold.
Before I close-out my review, I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on Robert Pattinson’s acting. I have honestly never been a huge fan of him. I don’t fault him for doing the Twilight Series - any young actor in his shoes would’ve jump at the chance to be in that cash-cow series - but I won’t deny that by default, his full name is, “Robert Pattinson from Twilight”. He has officially shed this tag in my eyes and proven himself to be great actor. He completely ate up every single second he was on screen, carrying this movie on his shoulders. His character was extremely flawed but always trying to do right by his brother. I completely bought into the love and care he had for his brother.
Quick note: the brother is played by co-director Benny Safdie and he gave a great supporting performance.
Good Time is a throwback to the crime/heist movies of the 70s and early 80s. The Safdies have stated that Scorsese has always been an inspiration in their movie-making career and this movie shows that. With the mainstream box office being a wasteland, indies like this one keep my love for movies alive. Finding respect for an actor, Pattinson, thanks to an incredible performance is why I love movies.
Good Time is currently playing in theaters. Yeah, I will say it, it’s a good time. Go watch it.
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