Standing as one of the most grounded and entertaining movies of the year; Good Time is about the unequivocal bond of brotherhood and the story of a misguided young man making decisions that he believes is best for his brother.
Simply, Good Time follows the story of two brothers separated after a heist gone wrong, as Connie (Robert Pattinson) tries his best to reunite with his brother Nick (Ben Safdie).
From writer/director/editor Josh Safdie, and starring director/actor Ben Safdie, these brothers have talent beyond what I’ve seen in new directors in recent memory. The story itself is a roller-coaster of emotion, as it switches tonally from being hilarious, to heart pounding, and sorrowful at a moments notice. This story not only explores the lengths at which a brother is willing to go for his flesh and blood, but the nature of a young man raised in a rough life who is misguided in what he believes is best. The theme of the film always mirroring the fact that the character is doing what is wrong for what he believes is right, fantastically ending the film with the lyrics “the pure always act from love, the damned always act from love”, as the film cements this theme into our minds, we know for certain that the moral compass of the characters are complex. Ultimately we are offered up a tearful journey that takes the meaning of “bitter-sweet” to a whole new level.
Boasting a likable and confident lead character portrayed by Robert Pattinson, audiences are offered a character that is wrong in his intentions and morals; yet you unconsciously root for the character despite knowing the path he is going down is ultimately worse for the life of his brother. We get a character that never frustrates you with his decisions, he’s doing what he thinks is best and he does it so well that you can’t help but respect him as a character. With Pattinson proving that his exploration outside blockbusters has honed his skills as an actor, I can see his career heading in an immensely positive direction. Pattinson’s character in this film felt caring and intense, always looking ahead and always focussed on the task at hand. We get a fantastic range of emotions from him in multiple scenarios and it really felt like Pattinson knew the character inside and out.
Ben Safdie plays the role of Pattinson’s brother, in the film he is mentally challenged and faces a lot of stress and hardship with his disability; Ben Safdie truly served up a beautiful and convincing portrayal, and the sheer authenticity of the role made the story so much more heart-breaking to experience, as you know the stakes are high for the livelihood of a man who needs proper care. Audiences also get a somewhat wildcard performance from actor Buddy Duress who acts as both a comedic relief and an interesting addition to the crazy story that unfolds throughout the movie. Almost all the performances felt grounded and realistic, and the film itself will leave movie-goers tender with emotion by the film’s conclusion.
From a filmmaking perspective I would have to say the editing and pacing in this film is probably best of the year, with a constant flow of unexpected events that meld together seamlessly; the story is capable of hitting notes on multiple emotional levels without ever breaking your attention. The camera-work in general has a unique style to it, with nicely integrated establishing shots and a final shot that ends the film beautifully. From the very first shot in the film to the very last you get a sense of longing and a poetic ending to story with a clear and concise meaningful message. Almost everything done behind the camera and on paper was executed with intent and it truly shows, from the lighting to the costume design almost every aspect went above and beyond what most crime/dramas would go – all to create a cinematic experience that looks good and tells an impactful story. The soundtrack in the film was stunning with some of the most appropriate pieces of music to bring out emotion throughout the film; it certainly stands as one of the most impressive soundtracks of the year, rivalling A Ghost Story (2017).
Good Time is definitely one of my favourite films of the year, and the work and talent that both Ben Sadie and Josh Safdie have is incredible. With killer casting and a magnificently well paced story; Good Time is everything a great crime/drama film should be – as it blends tension, humour, and a touching message that warms the heart.