GOOD TIME [2017]


Writers: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie

An independent film done right, this is a tense, dark and gritty thriller that certainly has some unpredictable moments under its sleeve. This is a prime example of a limited budget enhancing the creativity of all involved. One can only imagine what Hollywood schlock is raking in right now compared to Good Time, which is an apt tile.

Pattinson, far removed from his Twilight years, is near-perfect as the hustler Connie, a truly relentless arsehole. His brother, Nick (Benny Sadfie), is intellectually disabled, and the film begins with a power scene with him talking to a counselor of some sort. But Connie pulls him out of the place, telling him constantly as they leave that he doesn’t need it, that he isn’t like those others.

This though is Connie being the supreme hustler he is, as he uses these comments to convince Nick to help him rob a bank. This does not end well, as his Nick is arrested and injures himself badly, while unsurprisingly, Connie flees. Despite his incredibly selfish and manipulative personality, Connie vows to get his brother out of the hospital, which is littered with cops, and his methods to achieve this are unconventional to say the least.

It sounds like a simple premise but the story has enough surprising moments of cleverly written scenarios that strike without warning, keeping the experience very interesting. After one of these moments, the stakes are amplified considerably, and the original plan hits the fan, as it were.

What comes next is more tension and exploration of character as we learn how selfish Connie is, using his hustling abilities to get his brother away from the cops. One of the most terrifying scenes involves a large amount of liquid LSD. Anyone experienced in psychedelic use will be able to imagine how truly scary this moment is.

The stakes become higher as the situation is taken to a fairground. Some quick thinking allows them to leave safely, but they soon find that their plans are about to morph from horrid to nightmarish. They are running out of options quickly. But one gets the feeling the insanely manipulate Connie will find a way out, he has managed to do it so far.

The camerawork may not be for everyone, as close-up facial shots are heavily used. As an actor, this is a moment to shine- how subtle yet convincing can they be when the camera is focused directly on their face, often on their eyes. Both Pattinson and Sadfie display incredible skill.

The screenplay falters slightly in the first act, mainly as a few events seem unbelievable. This soon dissipates as we find ourselves immersed in this tight narrative, where it seems anything could happen at any second.

This extremely tight story is paired with a fantastic soundtrack whose synths are almost a dark throwback to A Clockwork Orange. Wait, okay, perhaps not the best comparison; Blade Runner 2049 is probably a closer cousin. Oneohtrix Point Never have created a unique, synth-filled soundscape that sits comfortably in the background, never overbearing.

Sadfie and Jennifer Jason-Leigh, who seems to perform in every role she is given, are both excellent, Benny Sadfie especially nails home the humanity of his character and just how confused he is, while Jason-Leigh is excellent in playing Connie’s girlfriend… Of sorts.

It is Pattinson though who impresses the most. Comparing this role to The Rover, for example, the incredible range Pattinson possesses is now firmly established, as he proves that he is one of the best young actors working today.

A fantastic ending accompanies the film, with quite the suspense filledfive beer(1) final act. Despite small flaws in the screenplay, this indie is well worth investing your time into. Pattinson is especially memorable, the soundtrack is very unique, and the small cast deliver on every front. It is also extremely polished and well made, filled with bright colours, adding an element of style to contrast against the black nature of the action.

One short of a sixer