Robert Pattinson shines in “Good Time”

Sometimes it takes an actor a little while to fully come into their own. For Robert Pattinson, he has certainly been doing his best to have a distinctive post Twilight identity. Working multiple times with David Cronenberg, taking a turn in The Lost City of Z, and now in Good Time, Pattinson is determined to gain full on respect for his talents. This latest film has been making a run at the independent box office and is his best work to date. With an expansion for the movie on the horizon in a few days, I wanted to double back and talk about it a bit. It marks the latest outing by filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie, who are directors to watch out for. Armed with Pattinson, they’ve crafted something top notch.

The film is a crime drama indebted to the genre entries of the past. Bank robber Connie Nikas (Pattinson) pulls jobs with the help of his mentally disabled brother Nick Nikas (Benny Safdie). When a heist goes bad and Nick is detained, Connie begins to fall down a rabbit hole in an attempt to save his brother. He’ll employ the help of a variety of characters, from Corey Ellman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to Crystal (Taliah Webster), as well as Ray (Buddy Duress). It’s a mess for Connie, with no true end in sight. Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie direct, while Josh co-wrote the screenplay with Ronald Bronstein. The cast here also includes Barkhad Abdi, Peter Verby, and Necro, among others. Cinematography here is by Sean Price Williams, while the score comes from Daniel Lopatin. Everyone here does their best to make a gritty and thrilling ride that almost leaves you out of breath by the end.

The Safdie Brothers know how to make a hell of a kinetic flick. There isn’t a quiet moment to be found here, as it’s all forward momentum. Pattinson is absolutely phenomenal from start to finish, while Benny Safdie is shockingly good. This Safdie is truly a multi hyphenate. The star though is clearly Pattinson, along with the filmmaking itself. Al Pacino would be proud of this turn. While not quite a mainstream movie, the genre being played with in this indie lends itself to a wider audience. This is the film that could get the Safdie Brothers to the point where they could make a Hollywood project on their terms. If they do, boy could they just knock that out of the park too. As for Pattinson, his intensity is hypnotic. You won’t be able to look away from this performance.

Awards will probably be few and far between for Good Time, outside of the indie precursors, but Pattinson is certainly good enough to warrant at least a pipe dream. Best Actor is the main focus, though Best Director for the Safdies is deserving as well. The Gotham Awards or the Independent Spirit Awards would be the spots to look out for nominations like this to go down. The Safdie Brothers are on pace to make an Academy Award worthy film soon, while Pattinson is also right there for Oscar to consider. It won’t happen just yet, but it seems likely to happen before too long.

Out now, Good Time is, if you’ll excuse the pun here, a good time at the movies. If you love throwback cinema, what’s being done here should easily tickle your fancy. It’s not reinventing the cinematic wheel, but the final product stands out among the late summer crowd. Especially if you were big on Heaven Knows What or if you’re a Pattinson aficionado, this is one not to miss. It’s been out for a few weeks now, but is expanding to more screens at the end of the week. Give it a shot and you’ll almost certainly like what you find…

Be sure to check out Good Time, in theaters now and expanding this weekend!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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