Anyone who thinks that Robert Pattinson (Edward Cullen in the immensely popular TWILIGHT series) is just a pretty boy/flash in the pan is going to have to reassess that view after watching the gritty indie film, GOOD TIME. Like some of his former TWILIGHT and HARRY POTTER co-stars, Kristen Stewart, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson, Pattinson has been very choosy about his film projects since both mega-franchises wrapped up, opting for lower budget fare and, in the process, getting to work with such notable filmmakers as David Cronenberg and Werner Herzog, and some up-and-coming filmmakers too, including David Michôd and Brady Corbet. (Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of these last two guys. You will in the next few years.)
Pattinson has now teamed up with the Safdie brothers, Josh and Benny, whose 2014 film, HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT, met with critical acclaim and won a couple of prestigious awards during its film festival run. In GOOD TIME, Pattinson plays Constantine “Connie” Nikas, a psychopathic ne’er-do-well from Queens, NY, who ropes his mentally challenged brother, Nick (Benny Safdie, pulling double duty), into robbing a bank with him. Though the pair manage to pull off the heist, they don’t get very far before the police are breathing down their necks. After Nick gets caught and sent to a holding facility at Rikers Island, Connie pulls out all the stops to get enough cash together to get his brother out of prison before he appears before a judge the next morning, using and manipulating anyone and everyone along the way, including his loser girlfriend Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh, THE HATEFUL EIGHT), a bored teenager (Taliah Webster), and a recently paroled two-bit drug dealer (Buddy Duress, HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT). With each desperate scheme though, Connie digs himself deeper into a hole until there is no possible way out.
The British actor is very rightly receiving accolades for his performance here, and it’s not just because he does a credible Queens accent. Perhaps it’s the subject matter and the location but his performance is both reminiscent and on par with Al Pacino’s in DOG DAY AFTERNOON. Pacino was nominated for an Oscar® for that role and it wouldn’t surprise me if Pattinson gets nominated for this one. For the Safdie brothers’ part, they have created a primal story about the seedy underbelly of suburban New York City, one that is awash with red and green neon, and decay. If the movie had “Odorama”, it would smell like the grease at the White Castle in Elmhurst. Daniel Lopatin’s late ’70s/early ’80s German synthpop-inspired score adds to the film’s tense action. As frenetically paced as the movie is though, it does stumble somewhat in the second and third acts. The first half of the film, however, is fabulous.
GOOD TIME premiered at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival where it received a six-minute standing ovation. High praise for its two young filmmakers and one bold film star!
Watch the review recorded on Facebook Live in RTHK Radio 4’s studio on Thursday, September 28th at 8:30 am HK time!
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