Saturday, 20 January 2018

GOOD TIME (2017) - review

From the first anticipating electronic drums of Oneohtrix Point Never's soundtrack, Good Time sets its tone as a frantic all-nighter, as manic and desperate as it is vapid and sobering. Robert Pattinson stars as Connie, a guy that owes a lot of money, who attempts to rob a bank with his disabled brother Nick, played by co-director Ben Safdie, but of which all goes terribly wrong and, while Connie manages to escape the police, Nick is arrested and put in jail. One thing leads to another, and Connie's attempt to rescue his brother from a hospital results in mistaken identity and a caper concerning a Sprite bottle full of acid.

Close-focused camera's result in a claustrophobic feel, with Connie and Nick providing the brunt of the emotional exposition. Pattison is at a career high as Connie, and displays the fraught nature of his characters situation without resorting to over the top notions. Connie may be reckless and stupid at times, but his is well-meaning when it comes to caring for his brother, although the last thing his brother needs to be involved in bank heists.

Conversely, the occasional use of the birds eye view, or rather helicopter eyes view, when following Connie around in his various cars only goes to lend a lingering sense of dread to his cause, an inevitability to his actions. As the night gets crazier and crazier, the likelihood of arrest grows. The helicopter view point is voyeuristic, and as the police and media attention grows, so does the use of this technique, and we are left questioning not if he'll get away, but when he'll get caught.

An exceptional side cast including Barkhad Abdi and Jennifer Jason Leigh lead to some interesting interactions, but their roles are more just glorified cameos. Unfortunately, the most grating part of the film comes in the inclusion of criminal Ray (Buddy Duress), and the film stops the pacing in order to stop and tell this guys rambling backstory. Indeed, while Good Time starts off as a disastrous crime caper, it ends meanderingly and somewhat anticlimactically.

Ben and Josh Safdie's story focuses more on the escalating comedy of errors that Connie finds himself in, and as the farcical situations grow so does the trepidation. Unfortunately, the story peters out in the last third, leaving us with the just the excellent soundtrack and atmospheric cinematography.



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