In better form than ever, the Safdie brothers bring to life yet another vision of grimy New York City while toying with its innate dark humor. Although normally they’d go with a complete unknown to add authenticity to the picture, this time they chose to go with the hyper-famous Robert Pattinson and boy, did it pay off! What one must understand is that Robert Pattinson isn’t just great, he’s amazing as he delivers the best performance of his entire career. Whether intentional or not, the Safdie brothers created a perfectly twisted vessel in which Pattinson could show-off the full scope of his talents.
Igniting the film with a botched robbery, Pattinson’s Connie Nikas sets off to try and gather enough funds to try and bail his brother out of jail. What commences as the most loyal pursuit a man of this caliber could ever pursue swiftly switches gear into pure sequence of chaotic events that progressively get both more fun and more enthralling to follow. Confronting cops, children, and carnivals, Connie devises the most malign forms of escape from each situation in ways that prove terrifically enjoyable. Not far behind him, Buddy Duress’s Ray deserves a significant call-out for providing us with a naturally hilarious side-character. And although these actors may shine because their performances are so great, the Safdie’s make sure the never shine throughout the movie as they keep the film firmly based in reality.
Another huge component of Good Time that grants the grounding of reality is its exquisite use of camera-work. Unlike most filmmakers today, the Safdie’s have always taken an almost documentary-esque approach when it comes cinematography, utilizing uncomfortably close close-ups and shots that establish the gritty state of the confines of a city. The shots in this film aren’t supposed to be beautiful, in fact they’re supposed to be quite the opposite, and yet for whatever reason the way the Safdie’s capture the nasty elements of the world we choose to ignore shine beautifully.
Good Time is a pure joy, a modern day After Hours if you will, the Safdie’s prove their command of cinema yet again and pull out a spectacular performance from Pattinson. Besides the change in aesthetic, Pattinson is still unrecognizable under the veil of Connie Nikas as he truly takes on his skin and goes out into the night as Connie, the good-intentioned horrible human being. There’s not much filmmaking like this out there anymore, let alone American filmmaking that has the guts to take so many chances, with Good Time the Safdie’s prove themselves to be part of a group of New American auteurs that will hopefully lift American cinema anew.