Spoilers won’t threaten you with a good time.
This feature had its premiere back during International Fantasia Film Festival 2017. I was exiting the theatre from the previous film and knew people would be queuing like crazy for this one. Robert Pattinson was going to be in attendance and I knew the line up was too crazy to try. I used the back entrance to avoid the crowd and almost crashed into this young punk that was sneaking in. Yeah, it was Pattinson. Luckily I had my press pass clearly visible and his bodyguards didn’t tackle me.
Good Time (2017) was directed by Benny and Josh Safdie based on a screenplay written by Ronald Bronstein and Josh Safdie. Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) gets his disabled brother Nick (Benny Safdie) out of mental therapy. Together they attempt to rob a bank, only for things go bad and Nick gets apprehended. Connie attempts to get him out on bail asking his girlfriend Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh) but things don’t work out. As the cops close in on him, Connie will try to do everything to get his brother clear, including breaking him out of the hospital.
This movie worked up my anxiety levels, but I can’t help but admire that I was very much engaged with the plot and character’s dilemma for it to do that so fast. It’s a really bare bones thriller that relies on underdog flawed characters and bad life decisions without any embellishment. Reality can be harder to dig than fiction. As much as I admire the direction, I couldn’t help but had to stop the film a couple of times every time I saw another bad decision coming up. It’s not a pessimistic outtake, just a very honest one.
It was an uncomfortable movie for me to watch. As much as you consider Connie’s redemption is tied to how much he cares for his brother, it’s also a flawed one as he’s not able to really care for him or knows how bad his decisions are. He’s not above hustling or lying to other people, including seducing teenager Crystal (Taliah Webster) or framing a security guard (Barkhad Abdi). Actually the most honest he gets is in a conversation with another fugitive, Ray (Buddy Duress). Connie is quick to condemn Ray for his lifestyle choices while being completely blind to the mess his own life has become.
Recommended with reservations. Good performances and a tense storytelling way make for a rather edgy thriller, but also it’s realistic enough to be hard to watch for some audiences. That included me. I do applaud that there’s little to no Hollywood plot devices to justify Connie’s behaviour, except his own delusions. It never tries to go for cool or demonize the odds that the cast is facing. At the same time, as flawed as the characters here are, they are never over-the-top villains and remain human. Worth a watch, perhaps even a rewatch, but perhaps not for everyone.
That will do for now.