Cinema Review: Good Time | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Saturday, May 18th, 2024  

Good Time

Studio: A24
Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie

Aug 10, 2017 Web Exclusive
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Looking back nearly ten years to the height of Twilight-mania, few would have bet that Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart would become two of the more exciting or adventurous young actors working in film. Stewart’s become a favorite of Olivier Assayas, and has starred in films by Kelly Reichardt, Woody Allen, and Drake Doremus; Pattinson’s since been cast by Anton Corbijn, James Gray, Werner Herzog, and the Davids Michod and Cronenberg (the latter, twice). It feels like Pattinson has had the tougher time shedding his vampire sparkle, but his transformative turn in Good Time should hopefully remedy that once and for all. Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie – the siblings behind 2015’s unshakeable Heaven Knows What – Pattinson plays a strung out (and likely drug-addled) criminal, a role so intentionally unglamorous that the actor’s pretty-boy looks are almost unrecognizable.

Protective to a fault, Constantine Nikas (Pattinson) absconds his mentally handicapped brother from a treatment facility and brings him along on a carefully-planned bank heist. The robbery goes awry and the brother lands in prison, a place where the challenged young man is woefully unequipped to survive. Constantine has one mission: to raise bail money in any way possible – seduction, coercion, violence – and potentially save his brother’s life.

Good Time plays out largely over one nerve-wrackingly tense 24-hour period. The Safdies’ guerrilla-style shoot – which went so far as to film a chase through the streets and alleyways of Queens in broad daylight, without a permit – only adds to the movie’s realism. (Ramping up the tension is a throbbing, assertive score by Oneohtrix Point Never.) Set within a thoroughly impoverished layer of New York’s urban sprawl, Good Time manages to make the city feel gritty in a way that cinema’s rarely captured in recent decades. Should the Safdies continue exploring NYC’s seedy underbelly, we’ll continue tuning in.

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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