The Independent

Good Time

Photo courtesy of RecentMoviePosters

Photo courtesy of RecentMoviePosters

Photo courtesy of RecentMoviePosters

Tommy Powers, Scoop Writer

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Good Time has quickly received critical acclaim, box office success and a dedicated fan base, and it is a film that anyone and everyone can enjoy. It is fast-paced and entertaining for those that are looking for a fun experience, but it also holds thematic weight and genuine artistic value to appeal to the more serious moviegoer. It has the grit and drab sense of morality of a gangster film, the wit of dialogue found in any good comedy and a style that is undoubtedly unique. The film boasts the newest big names in the film industry: filmmaking duo Josh and Benny Safdie.

The film boasts a distinctive cast of characters, with features so exaggerated that they seem as if they could have come from a comic book; these include Connie, a bank robber with a superiority complex played by Robert Pattinson, his unpredictable and hot-tempered girlfriend played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, the brutish bail bondsman played by Eric Paykert, and a paranoid amusement park security guard played by Barkhad Abdi.

In terms of narrative, Good Time begins with Nick Nikas’ arrest after he and his brother Connie’s failed attempt at a bank robbery. This leads Connie on a night-long chase around New York to break out his brother. However, this chase involves a tempting distraction for Connie in the form of the search for a Sprite bottle filled with drugs that Connie intends to sell for a small fortune. The threat of police is ever present throughout the film, furthering its raw intensity.

Robert Pattinson’s Connie is one of the most morally complex characters put to film. He is manipulative of those around him throughout the film, but he is by no means a one-sided character. This is most clearly evidenced in his relationship with his developmentally disabled brother, Nick (played by co-director Benny Safdie). As an audience, we get the sense that Connie genuinely loves and cares for his brother, despite the fact that he is exploitative of him. He seems to believe that he knows what is best for his brother, but this is certainly no the case. Connie uses his brother to assist him in his criminal activity, using him as an excuse in certain situations. For example, he convinces an employee at a pizza place to allow him to hide in the bathroom while on the run from police by informing the employee of his brother’s disability, despite the fact that this information has little to no bearing on why they need to use the bathroom. This is just one example of many short interactions throughout the film in which Connie does not give the “whole truth” to those he interacts with, sugar-coating certain details in order to take advantage of people for his own benefit.

The film shines aesthetically, with a distinct style that develops a wholly immersive world. Although many modern films use neon lighting as a lazy way to sidestep any true dynamic cinematography, Good Time simply uses its lavish color as an extra. The film has a unique and intimate style of framing that is engaging and immersive even when excluding the vivid color. The engaging nature of the film is also supported by its heartbeat, the thumping electronic score by musician Oneohtrix Point Never.

One seemingly insignificant aspect of his character is his hair, which he dyes blonde about halfway through the film. When placed in current political context as well as with the actions taken by Connie throughout the film, this may be reasonably taken as an indication of not only his impulsiveness but his self-worth as well. Although it is unlikely that Connie himself is a white nationalist, he clearly holds some of these values on a smaller scale. There are subtle scenes throughout the film that indicate Connie’s superiority complex, including him scoffing at strangers on the street and general rudeness to those that he interacts with. In fact, he is notably polite only when he has something to gain from those around him.

The strongest piece of criticism that can be applied to Good Time is that it does not hold enough narrative substance when considering the potential presented by its world. Although the film’s fast pace was likely designed to cause slight confusion and increase tension with a sort of real-time documentary feel, this pace also squanders the opportunity to explore the neon-tinged, immersive world of Good Time.

As an audience, we are left wanting more, and unfortunately, this is not the sort of film that constitutes a sequel. Overall, I enjoyed the film very much, and I urge all moviegoers to see it if they get the chance. Whether you see it for entertainment, to appreciate art or a combination of both, Good Time will not disappoint.

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Good Time