By: Movie Snurb (A Toast) –
Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) and his mentally handicapped brother Nick Nikas (Benny Safdie) decide to rob a bank for $65,000. No rhyme or reason is given and the audience is just along for the ride after. Per most bank robberies the brothers do not get away with it and are forced to change plans. When a chase leads to Nick getting arrested, and since Connie doesn’t have enough money to get his brother out of jail on bail, we are taken on a journey through the seedy underbelly of New York to scrounge up 10K to get Nick out of jail. If you couldn’t tell by the trailer, things go far from the plan and we are in for one helluva ride with Connie.
Robert Pattinson was born to play Connie. He burns up the screen with total charisma, reminiscent of a used car salesman. He sounds good and you believe him. Yet, your gut is telling you to not believe a word he’s telling you, and next thing you know you’re driving away in a car that was twice your budget. Connie is a perpetual liar, to the point I don’t think he ever tells the truth while on screen, however, even when you know he’s lying you still believe him. It is something I’ve never seen an actor have to do and I don’t know if another actor could do it better. I would’ve bought a “brand new Blu-ray player” out of his car for $50 and gotten home with a box full of bricks. We watch Connie commit a litany of felonies and yet you still are rooting for him, hoping he does the right thing. Connie is one of the best examples of an anti-hero and will be an iconic character for years to come, partly from the great writing, but mostly from Robert Pattinson’s brilliant performance.
Connie has a masterful character arc, probably one of the best I’ve seen in recent years. In shows and in movies you know a good character arc because you are rooting for them. You experience them make bad decisions and you hope they change and grow. When they do grow and change it’s rewarding because you got to grow and change with them. Connie is a relatable character and one you can root for, even when he leaves a path of destruction for everyone in his life he comes in contact with. Maybe it’s because we want to see him do right by his brother, maybe it’s because he is that charismatic, but in the end you’ll feel rewarded because we got to grow with Connie.
In a great film a score won’t be noticed. It’s like a cog in a watch; if it’s working right you won’t notice everything little cog in the watch. You’ll know that the watch works great and you’re satisfied. However, you can also have a great film with a great score and notice the score. I’m not talking about in the way of Star Wars or an Indiana Jones film where the initial few bars are recognizable. I mean when a score helps pump the film along or add to the film to help create tension or joy, or used as a cue to let you know something is going down. This score is a perfect match for the film. It’s like the drums that help keep the film’s tempo. The score is almost an homage to the 80s synth scores- it’s euphoric. I want to listen to the score and drive through downtown Kansas City at 2 a.m. just cruising. Not to mention Iggy Pop’s song at the end of the film perfectly encapsulates the film’s idea and atmosphere.
Good Time is a visceral and a darkly honest experience. The cinematography really throws the audience into this dark world. The film is almost unpolished, which makes it feel that much more real. If Good Time would’ve been a major motion picture production the film would’ve been too polished and it wouldn’t have been so primitive, which is what this film needed. The neon lighting mixed with the dark night sky made for almost a dreamlike film and yet it felt almost too real. Lots of close ups and placing the camera between the characters rather than using over the shoulder shots lets the audience enter the characters’ universe rather then just watch this experience.
A24 is currently the most exciting production in Hollywood. They take films most production companies would pass on because they aren’t going to be major money makers. The films are fresh and brilliant. Good Time is like After Hours + Mean Streets + Spring Breakers. It’s a crazy concoction of dark story telling. You can tell Martin Scorsese is a major influence on the Safdie Brothers. Robert Pattinson gives a career performance that should lead to an Oscar nomination. If you see this film for one reason, see it for Robert Pattinson.
Good Time (2017) Movie Review
Do a Shot: every time Connie commits a felony.
Take a Drink: every time we see the Sprite bottle full of acid.
Do a Shot: every time Connie gets philosophical.
Down a Beer: for that poor security guard.
Do a Shot: every time Connie has to change plans or the night takes an unexpected turn.