Movie Review: Good Time

Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, indie film-makers, Good Time (2017) takes audiences on a journey through action, drama, and the strength of brotherly-love. A breakthrough role for actor Robert Pattinson who had all but disappeared since the Twilight series, this film shows a whole new side of Pattinson who plays the young Constantine or “Connie” Nikas. A volatile yet fiercely determined youth, Connie is dedicated to his younger brother, Nick, who has severe learning disabilities.

The directing-brother duo takes much of this film from the 70s style of cinema and mimics the design of directors Martin Scorsese and Jerry Schatzberg. Not entirely fictitious, the Good Times takes from the autobiography “Daddy Longlegs,” and the romance “Heaven Knows what.” Many streaming media services like  ShowBox, Netlfix bought the rights of this movie for online streaming. Get ShowBox for PC Windows 10 and watch Good Time without any advertisement. The film is set in modern time, and the plot occurs throughout the course of only one night involving crime, violence, drugs, and the harsh reality of prison for those with mental disabilities.

Pattinson is the central focus of this film. His desperation and volatility make him into a character that you almost love to hate and hate to love leaving you very little sympathy for all the trouble he seems to walk himself into. A completely different character than Edward from Twilight, Pattinson does an excellent job of bringing Connie to a deep almost psychotic level and drives home the complications of youth to accept responsibility and instead seek out their own ways of making things better—even if it is to their disadvantage. Connie’s love and devotion are saved only for his brother as his interaction with his girlfriend, friends, and those who attempt to help him are filled with mal intent and manipulation.

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Nick Nikas, played by Benny Safdie, does an excellent job portraying the young boy with mental disabilities and his journey through the unfolding events with his dutiful brother. Jennifer Jason Leigh brings a reality and depth to Pattinson’s character through their interactions as a “couple.” And music director, Daniel Lopatin infuses traditional action-drama pieces with more popular and modern music.

As the film opens on dirty and crowded streets of downtown New York, Connie bursts into his brother, Nick’s, therapy session and steals him away to assist in a bank robbery Connie has been planning. Nick’s learning disabilities have put him at a point where he is violent with his caretaker, the boys’ grandmother. Connie is devoted to his mentally handicapped brother and finds it his duty to do all he can to protect him. Motivated by both desperation and the desire to create a better life for him and Nick, the boys attempt to rob a bank of nearly $65,000 only to have the dye packs explode on them covering them in bright red paint. As the two try to escape, Connie gets away while Nick is arrested by the police. Frantic Connie seeks the help of his girlfriend for the $10k in bail money. After that attempt does not fully succeed, Connie embarks on a plan to break his brother out of Rikers Island only to undergo a night of violence, drugs, and many more action-packed events.

Actors who star in one leading film often find it extremely difficult to take their image away from previous associations. Pattinson dealt with this very situation as he built his character of Connie in Good Times. Such a drastic change from the demeanour of Edward was necessary to show what kind of acting chops Pattinson possesses. A troubled youth who has a broken home life and a brother who he is devoted to yet has a completely different set of problems, Pattinson creates layers within his character that slowly unfold as the storyline progresses and Connie finds himself in more and more trouble.

What is more interesting to consider is what the Safdie brothers insinuated with the trailers compared to what is delivered in the film? The initial trailers showed Pattinson’s character as a boy wanting to help his troubled brother who had somehow been put into prison by his own doing. The brother is never portrayed as having a disability giving more sympathy to Connie than Nick.

What the audience comes to learn in the initial scenes is that this image is far from the truth. It could very well be that the Safdie brothers have created a new modern-day image of the anti-hero who is faced with all the challenges of 21st-century youth living in a metropolitan area such as New York yet still stuck in between the reality of what is and the desire to achieve something much greater.

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