Hot Take: Awful title. Far-fetched, well acted thriller about a botched bank robbery and what happens afterward, I guess. Robert Pattinson shows some acting chops though.
Do you consider yourself a hipster? If you answer “yes” or “no”, it doesn’t speak to what you’ll think of Good Time, the 2017 urban drama/thriller starring Robert Pattinson. If, however, you said, “What the hell kind of question is that?” it actually means two things. (1) You’re probably a hipster and (2) you’ll probably love Good Time. Personally, I’m on the fence with the film. There was enough to like about Good Time to lock in my interest until the end but, afterward, it left me feeling a little bit hollow about the whole viewing experience. A little too much was left on the table for me to call the film anything more than mediocre.
Directed by the Safdie Brothers, the pair also played other key roles in the making of the film. Brother Josh was co-writer (along with Ronald Bronstein) while brother Ben was co-editor (also along with Bronstein) and played a supporting role as Nick, the handicapped young brother of Connie (Pattinson), who gets caught and arrested after the brothers try to pull off and botch a robbery attempt. Connie gets away and plots his course of action to bail his brother out of jail which leads to a series of unexpected events that make for a very long night for Connie.
It’s hard to really pin down Good Time as to what it is. It’s manic and as jittery as the main character and the hand held shots the film relies on to set the tone. It’s also plodding, at times, with an overbearing soundtrack behind the actions of a highly unlikable protagonist but also impossible to stop watching because Pattinson is fully engrossed in the role and makes for an interesting character study.
What did interest me about Good Time is the overall reaction to it… or lack thereof. Pattinson’s Connie is one of the sleaziest, vile characters in a main role in some time. Yet somehow, that hasn’t really been brought up much in the discussion of the film. Since we’re “spoiler free” here, it’s hard to go into detail about it without giving anything away but let’s just lead with the fact that Connie pulls his mentally handicapped brother out of therapy to help him rob a bank. The plan is to skip town afterward in a modern day homage to “Of Mice and Men” if George as a scheming criminal and Lenny was his unwitting accomplice. Usually, films like Good Time get a decent amount of negative press for their wanton lack of scruples and might have purposely been looking for that attention but no one seemed to care. Instead, the buzz was about Pattinson (and rightfully so) with an overreaction to a very good performance (Comparisons to a young Al Pacino might be taking it a bit too far).
Good Time is a frantic mess that is equal parts frustrating and entertaining. It’s also the quintessential critical darling that never quite lives up to the hype. There’s too many plot holes and too much over-the-top acting from the rest of the cast outside of Pattinson. Even the lifelong professionals (*COUGH* Jennifer Jason Leigh *COUGH*) get sucked into the overacting phenomenon. Even though it’s compelling from open to close, by the end, you’re confused as to what compelled you in the first place and are left asking yourself if you just got conned by talented but manipulative filmmakers who were able to make Good Time seem like more than what it actually is.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- The Vamp Giveth and the Vamp Shaketh Away
There was a time that it looked like neither Kristen Stewart nor Robert Pattinson would be able to get out of the shadow cast by Twilight. However, both have found themselves putting some serious distance between their previous roles and their latest. Pattinson’s role in Good Time might be his best yet.
- Great Settings
The filmmakers know how to stage a scene and found a number of interesting locations to visit throughout the flick without ever leaving NYC. It is not the usual NYC locations or visuals but a more grime and grit version of the underbelly of the city.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- Let’s Get Ridiculous!
The plot and the events that take place throughout the film get more and more ridiculous as it progresses.
- That Misogyny Problem
Hollywood has an obvious misogyny problem and Good Time is a prime example. Find one halfway decent example of a strong (or even “not weak”) female character and you’ll be finding something I didn’t. Not every movie has to have a strong female character but there’s plenty of stereotypically weak female characters thrown in to Good Time that a strong character would have given some balance. Then again, I can’t think of a strong male character, either.