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One Movie Punch

Feb 20, 2018

Today’s movie is “Good Time” (2017), the intense, non-stop crime thriller from Josh and Benny Safdie, the follow up to 2014’s “Heaven Knows What”. The film follows Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson), whose mentally-handicapped brother Nick (Benny Safdie) was picked up by the police after they had robbed a bank. Connie doesn’t have enough money for bail, so he launches on an insane series of events to attempt to free his brother.

“Good Time” has the same raw feel as “Heaven Knows What”, almost a companion or parallel tale. Robert Pattinson removes any sense of typecasting from his “Twilight” years with this film, as well as his excellent supporting role in “The Lost City of Z”. Everyone else on the journey weaves in and out, providing counterpoint and support as needed for the larger, dynamic narrative.

The Safdie Brothers know how to direct and edit a film. Connie’s intense path is painted with sets and costumes using solid colors and complimentary lighting to fit the tone. Layered on top of that to drive the tone home is an excellent score by Oneohtrix Point Never, turning the innocuous transition shots into menacing affairs, sustaining the mood to maintain the pacing.

I have some concerns with the film as well, even though I think the material is treated with respect. Choosing a mentally-handicapped character comes with a lot of risk, but I thought Ben Safdie’s performance didn’t cross any lines, and felt intensely real. Including a scene of potential statutory rape, even if consensual, is also disturbing, but effective to the overall story.

“Good Time” (2017) is a sociopathic, fast-paced journey through multiple strata of New York. An excellent cast and incredible composition combine with a menacing score to create probably one of my favorite films from last year. If you love thrillers and can handle explicit material, this film is for you. If anything in this review sours your stomach, then stay far away.

Rotten Tomatoes: 92% (CERTIFIED)

Metacritic: 80

One Movie Punch: 8.8/10

“Good Time” is rated R and is currently streaming on Amazon Prime.