Good Time is a tale of brotherly love where one brother, Constantine (Connie), tries desperately to free his mentally challenged brother, Nick, who is incarcerated. Impressive – or is it?
Perhaps not, since it was Connie’s hair-brained idea that the two should rob a bank, thereby making their lives better. Not surprisingly, the plan went awry and resulted in Nick being apprehended, while Connie escaped. During Nick’s detainment, he was assaulted by another prisoner and ended up in the hospital. Connie, who is basically a scumbag but truly cares about his brother, spends one crazy night frantically trying to save Nick from the trouble he put him in and keep him from going back to prison.
Good Time is another film with a deceiving title, as bad times befall Connie at every turn in his desperate odyssey to try to get thousands of dollars of bail money, while evading authorities himself. Risking everything, he scours the seedy underbelly of Queens, New York, a world of crime and drugs that is gritty and ugly and real. With a single-minded desperation, Connie makes one bad and morally questionable decision after another and events spiral wildly out of control. As time slowly runs out, there is a sense of inevitable doom for the slightly sympathetic lowlife. Connie’s only real redeeming quality is his misguided but well-meaning love for his brother and that makes us root for him when we really don’t want to.
Frantic accurately describes the mood of Good Time. It’s a pulsating thriller with an unrelenting pace, where the plot keeps throwing absurd and insane twists at you, yet never becomes unbelievable. It’s exciting to watch the story unfold as we’re never sure what’s coming next. The tone of the film might not be for everyone as it’s a loud, messy world of agitation and intensity. Even the techno synth soundtrack keeps us on edge. The movie is shot mostly in close-up, often hand-held and shaky, which some might find irritating at first, but is consistent with the frenetic feel of the story and the manic instability of Robert Pattinson’s Connie.
Pattinson breaks free of his Twilight character with a superb portrayal of a charmingly manipulative con-artist. With agitated mannerisms and a thick Bronx accent, he brings realism and passion to his part.
Bennie Safdie, who also co-produces the movie with his brother, gives a very honest and sensitive portrayal of the intellectually disabled Nick.
Good Time is truly original, it is both beautiful and harsh, and keeps you on edge from beginning to end. It received a six-minute standing ovation at Cannes – you can decide if you agree that it deserved it.
Rated 14A, Good Time plays at 5 p.m. on March 17 at the Salmar Classic.