Directors: Ben and Joshua Safdie
Stars: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barhad Abdi and Ben Safdie
Released: 2017 – Locarno Film Festival
Reviewer: Luke Walkley
After the global success of the ‘Twilight’ saga, the challenge facing Robert Pattinson and co. was similar to that facing the stars of ‘Harry Potter’. How do they move on from roles that defined their young careers and shot them to super-stardom?
For Pattinson, he has since taken on a wide range of roles. from romantic dramas ‘Remember Me’ and ‘Water For Elephants’ to appearing in two David Cronenberg features ‘Cosmopolis’ and ‘Maps To The Stars’. However it’s his stand-out performance in ‘Good Time’ that really takes him to the next level.
Pattinson plays Connie, a small-time street criminal who plans a larger score with his mentally-ill brother Nick (Ben Safdie) but after the heist goes awry and Nick is caught, Connie tries to evade those looking for him, all the while trying to get his brother back.
Good Time is pure fun from the get-go, with a gritty neon-noir feel, where we’re treated to a host of unique characters as Pattinson attempts to find his brother. Jennifer Jason Leigh is Connie’s unhinged girlfriend who, despite a willingness to help, clearly has her own problems to worry about. Buddy Duress plays Ray, another petty crook just out of prison who becomes embroiled in Connie’s mishaps. Young actress Taliah Webster also delivers a strong debut-feature performance as Crystal, a teenager who also gets drawn in to Connie’s situation.
The main draw of Good Time however is Pattinson’s nervy, yet determined portrayal of Connie. A character that’s almost blissfully unaware of his own shortcomings and desperation. He feels responsible for his brother’s situation, yet lets himself become distracted by the smallest temptation. It’s his strongest performance to date and while his role as Edward Cullen in Twilight was his breakthrough, he’s now starting to define himself as a multi-layered and experienced actor.
Perhaps where the film lets itself down is the lack of exploration into the character of Jennifer Jason Leigh and her relationship with Connie, we see glimpses of the instability but it felt like there was potential to dig a little deeper into that storyline rather than a few scenes with Ray that were overly long.
Good Time has a ‘Mean Streets’ vibe about it and mix that with a killer score and we’ve got one of the most enjoyable crime-dramas in recent years. The Safdie’s have delivered a real edge-of-your-seat movie with a mesmeric leading man.