Nick Nikas (Ben Safdie) is a mentally retarded guy. He visits psychiatrist Peter (Peter Werby), with whom Nick is very unnerved. Nick’s brother Connie (Robert Pattinson) saves Nick from talking to a psychiatrist and explains that they have to rob a bank: there is no other way out, because they have a bunch of unpaid bills, and there is no work to be expected.
The robbery itself went quite smoothly, however, when the brothers fled the scene of the robbery in a car with a driver, a paint device planted by a bank employee exploded in a bag of money and the car crashed. The police rushed to the scene, Connie managed to escape, and Nick was caught, while he severely cut his face on the broken glass of the door.
Connie realizes that his brother will not last long in prison, and tries to arrange Nick’s release on bail. However, the money that remained as a result of the robbery is only enough for half of the bail, and Connie does not know where to get another ten thousand dollars. But he learns that Nick was transferred from prison to the hospital, and then he has the idea to get his brother out of there.
Brothers Ben and Joshua Safdie are independent directors making low-budget films about the inhabitants of the New York bottom. Their previous film, God Knows What, was about the love of a New York drug addict, and was not only based on a true story, but also starred the same drug addict who wrote a book about her life. This picture caused a noticeable response, received the prize of the International Federation of Feature Films and really liked the actor Robert Pattinson, who is trying to get away from the image of a vampire from Twilight, so he takes on all sorts of interesting and non-standard roles.
And Robert told the Safdie brothers that he was ready to star in their new film for a meager fee (for the last “Twilight” he received $ 12.5 million) and even ready to feed the entire film crew with meals. I don’t know what happened with the dinners, but Pattinson got the main role in the film.
What the name “Good Time” means for a film in which no good time is observed in the slightest is not known for certain. This is an independent movie in every sense of the word, and it is not at all like the usual Hollywood crime thrillers. Depressed areas of New York, neon signs, drug addicts, slums, an atmosphere of hopelessness and driven to a standstill, when there really is nothing to lose.
The shooting style is also unusual: cinematographer Sean Price Williams is very fond of close-ups and it seems that the camera is constantly peering into the faces of the characters, and Connie himself, who loves to manipulate people, peers into the faces of those whom he convinces to help him.
Connie’s nightly rushing around New York is accompanied by an interesting and very well suited to the film electronic soundtrack, reminiscent of the eighties – a kind of retro-wave, for which Oneohtrix Point Never, aka Daniel Lopatin, was responsible.
All this was filmed in a terrible hurry and literally on the knee: the film crew plowed for sixteen hours a day. Due to the tight budget, the directors did not have permission to shoot, so they filmed everything illegally, literally from under the floor, including scenes in a real hospital.
Robert Pattinson had to work hard to hide in the crowd, because if he was recognized, then the shooting would be derailed. But there, just his character behaves in exactly the same way: Connie is constantly afraid that he will be discovered, so he stoops, hides his face under a hood and tries to be as inconspicuous as possible.
What happened to this role with Robert Pattinson? On the one hand, he played very well, especially in the first half of the film. However, the more troubles happened to his hero, the somehow more detached Connie became. I understand that there are people who, during some kind of trouble, seem to withdraw into themselves and turn to stone in their face, however, Connie, pulling his brother out of the hospital, experienced strong emotions, and later, when he was literally sucked into a maelstrom of problems, his emotionality became like – something noticeably faster.
So – well, in general, on the four. I didn’t feel any enthusiasm about him, and the fact that a thousand-year-old vampire can tolerably play a New York asshole does not make a noticeable impression on me. Why everyone in Cannes admired him so much and predicted him the main prize for the best male role – I don’t understand at all. However, then the prize for best male role went to Joaquin Phoenix (picture “You were never here”), so everything is in order. And this film in Cannes received the award “For the best soundtrack”.
Of the roles, I just liked noticeably more the way director Ben Safdie played the role of Connie’s brother Nick, and Buddy Duress was very good as Ray, a recent criminal who, as soon as he came out, was immediately so stoned with acid that he again got into all sorts of trouble. By the way, Duress is a non-professional actor: the directors involved him in the film “God knows what” and after that they were invited to the new film.
What do we have in general? In general, I liked it. First of all, I liked it for its originality and dissimilarity to ordinary crime thrillers. There is no “God from the Machine”, here the main character does not make two hundred shots from a pistol with a magazine for nine rounds, and here no one shoots at all. Neo-noir, frightening New York at night, the feeling of a quagmire that sucks the protagonist, for whom, moreover, you don’t feel much sympathy, because he, frankly, is a crappy person and drove himself and his brother into these circumstances – it all makes an impression.
But, as Bublik the cat quite rightly pointed out, such films are liked by critics and rarely liked by ordinary viewers who are simply not used to such things. And it will be the Twilight fans who come to see Robertic and see something completely different. However, Robertik there, in the course of his wanderings, managed to dye his hair white – perhaps this will somehow sweeten the pill for his fans.
PS There is a quote on the cover of the film: “Now there are simply no other directors who can make such a funny and at the same time deep and intense film.” I love the critics who bring all sorts of blizzards without bothering to just watch the movie they are talking about. Because the phrase “just as funny” is completely idiotic: there is not a drop of funny in this film.
PPS Suggested in the comments about the title, I quote: “Good time is just an informal term for early release for good behavior. Connie just got out of prison at the beginning of the film.”
Good Time movie meaning
Director: Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie Cast: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barkhad Abdi, Robert Pattinson, Ben Safdie, Buddy Duress, Talia Webster, Ron Brownstein, Peter Werby, Saida Mansour, Gladys Mathon
Worldwide gross: $2 million
Crime thriller, USA, 2017, 101 min.