Good Time Screen 32 articles

Good Time


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  • Good Time, like so many other films of its ilk, revels in its ugly male characters. The Safdie brothers try to squeeze dark humor from these guys but also seem to have no awareness of how repulsive they’ve made their lead. We’re supposed to laugh when thirtysomething Connie kisses fifteen-year-old Crystal and tries to fuck her just to distract her from his mug shot on the TV — do I have to remind people that statutory rape is rape?

  • If Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive was a dream-pop take on the crime thriller, in Good Time the Safdies attempt to drag the throwback fetishism back down to earth... One location, as a character handily explains, has no working light fixtures, so the scene plays out in the static glare of a TV set. It’s a contrived approach that in part succeeds in reintroducing a bit of grit to the genre, but it’s only a veneer of realism.

  • Good Time—with its illicit behavior, its misguided characters, and its aggressively digressive storytelling—too often plays like a comedy of errors rather than a tale of true desperation. Its harnessing of a freewheeling energy not often seen in American cinema since the 1970s is undeniably impressive. But for the first time, the Safdies seem to have sold their characters a bit short, letting the sheer wildness of their exploits eclipse what drove them to such extremes in the first place.

  • If there are flaws in Good Time, they are the result of the Safdies painting themselves into a corner, adopting this electrifyingly radical premise without the social imagination to see beyond it. Connie's monologue to Ray (Buddy Duress) about his relative worthlessness is entirely too on-the-nose, as is the concluding statement by Nick's therapist (Peter Verby) that everyone has "ended up where they belong."

  • If this premise sounds like typical genre fare, the Safdies get that and they deliver: Good Time is an action-packed, neon-streaked rush, all elaborate scenarios, racing against time, and police in hot pursuit. But this is also a film from the same people that made the emotionally devastating Heaven Knows What, and underneath this film's barrage of incident and its screaming score is a sense of intimacy and emotional vulnerability.

  • Another timely American tale, Josh & Benny Safdie’s Good Time lit up a fairly paltry Competition slate with its fiery, maddening take on the crime genre’s caper narrative. Like Baker’s film [The Florida Project], Good Time douses its locale — once again for them, New York City — in the ravishing, saturated glow covering every curve of the color wheel.

  • In its intense focus on the protagonist, the film feels too enraptured with his actions to criticize them. The brilliant aesthetic of Good Time conveys the adrenaline rush Pattinson experiences as he races from one scam to another, the thrill he attains from living outside the law. While I don’t believe that art must provide its audience with a moral compass, I do believe that a deliberately amoral perspective ought to guide audiences to greater insight than those Good Time provides.

  • Leaping straight from the American independent scene into the (ostensible) prestige of Cannes with Good Time, Josh and Benny Safdie deliver one of the best films in competition... It may be too soon to say whether the Safdies will become Cannes perennials; but at this moment, they provide the official selection with a welcome dose of adrenaline.

  • It opens with a therapy session, jumps ahead to the amateur heist, and then becomes a sustained chase thriller that harks back to the pulpy, scuzzy pleasures of vintage Sidney Lumet and Abel Ferrara. The action is so brisk and kinetic that you may not notice the social insights that the Safdies have so shrewdly tucked into the margins of their story.

  • This gear shifting moment is what brings me vividly back into the headspace of Good Time. The association isn’t obtuse: Lopatin scored the film under his Oneohtrix moniker and his music is essential to the film’s energy. Where Isao Tomita’s Moog renderings of Debussy haunted the New York streets in the Safdies’ last film, Heaven Knows What, Lopatin’s music fires up just as it would in a video game, triggered by and responding directly to the actions of a character on screen.

  • Connie’s reckless, driven energy finds its equivalent in Sean Price Williams’ mobile yet steady-handed cinematography, which creates ever-shifting frames in which these permanently off-balance characters bounce and collide. The electronic score, by Oneohtrix Point Never, is both unusually omnipresent and unusually avant-garde–sounding for a movie of such otherwise naturalistic style.

  • Read in this what you will. I have a weakness for stories about self-destructive doofuses, toxic family bonds, and small-time crooks, so naturally I dug the Safdie brothers’ grungy Good Time. . . . I’m partial to anything with a mood of itching urgency and to movies that plot themselves into tighter and tighter corners until they flip inside out into some kind of abstracted, claustrophobic representation of the whole.

  • The material... at times feels a little familiar. And it’s not too tough to guess where all this mayhem is headed given Connie’s ever-more fanciful schemes and wild disregard for the law. It’s about desperation, striving to get by and maybe even a sign of how, in America, violence seems like the safe option for those looking for a quick life change. The icing on the cake is the pulsing ambient score by Oneohtrix Point Never. Good time indeed.

  • A certain kind of energy is relatively easy to fake through editing and handheld shaky images. But what’s remarkable about the Safdies’ accomplishment here is that they manage to keep the plot’s thrusters burning nitro, so that the antic camerawork, and Kalashnikov cutting feel like they’re justified by the story, rather than the other way around.

  • The picture has a stylish, nervy energy, and Pattinson is terrific.

  • No coincidence that the few bright spots were literal signs of life, works that thrived on a messy vitality. Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time, which administered a needed dose of electroshock therapy to the moribund competition in the home stretch, is a crime caper with a committed Robert Pattinson performance, a propulsive Oneohtrix Point Never score, and a nuanced, indeed intersectional, understanding of class and race.

  • Played at a hyperactive pitch that is sustained throughout the proceedings, Good Time invigorates the viewer with its stylistic pyrotechnics, but also brings us deep into Connie’s tangled psyche, such that, no matter how many dubious ethical decisions he makes in the film, we can not help but empathise with the character.

  • It was left to the Safdies to save Cannes—which, indeed, they did, with a film that can be described as total cinema, in another, more traditional meaning of the term. And unlikely saviours they were, as no doubt their film, which Variety reviewed as “Robert Pattinson in Good Time,” would not have been selected for Competition save for the presence of their male lead.

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    Film Comment: Eric Hynes
    July 03, 2017 | July/August 2017 Issue (pp. 24-26)

    Somehow, Good Time is even more agile [than Heaven Knows What]—this one really, _really_ moves. It feels like a freefall, albeit a fall with sharp turns, twists inside of tumbles inside of falls, and hair dye. A scene about a credit card being declined plays like the Mexican standoff in Reservoir Dogs.

  • The sort of polite innovation that lifted such established, but still nominally edgy names as Maren Ade, Alain Guiraudie, Albert Serra, and Kleber Mendonça Filho into last year’s Official Selection was notable by its absence this time round, with only the inclusion of Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time in the main competition standing out among the parade of big, predictable names.

  • Much of Good Time's queasy, sustained high derives from Connie's lack of compunction about exploiting people even more disadvantaged than he is, but the film's unexpected emotional wallop is a product of how the Safdie brothers, co-writer Ronald Bronstein, and Pattinson judiciously draw out Connie's tragic dimension. He evolves imperceptibly from a slimy force of nature into a man who realizes he deserves what's coming to him.

  • The Safdies are often described in terms of what their movies owe to the city symphonies of the ’70s—movies like Jerry Schatzberg’s The Panic in Needle Park, to which Heaven Knows What drew more than its share of comparisons. True enough. But the Safdies also strike me as utterly modern. And Good Time is one of the best contemporary New York movies in recent memory. It is a movie for our times—in large part because it does us the courtesy of not reminding us, didactically, that it is one.

  • Connie genuinely loves his brother, but it's a toxic kind of love, the kind where you'd readily drag someone down with you rather than risk being alone. Good Time starts and ends with Nick, but the film belongs to Connie, and to Pattinson, who lives and breathes the young man's poisonous desperation. It's the kind of performance that sticks with you, like a layer of grime that needs to be washed off.

  • Movie bank robberies have grown increasingly technical over the decades: enough blueprints, hardware, sangfroid, and hours in the library researching metals and we could all be Robert De Niro in Heat. Good Time restores the desperation and dirtbag absurdity of the endeavor. The film has room at once for pain and outrageous twists that lend the film an outlaw jocularity.

  • This is the Safdies’ biggest movie, and while the budget allowed them to work with the magnetic and gifted Pattinson and to shoot in an array of complex locations, they also held fast to their guerrilla filmmaking method. The outer boroughs of New York have rarely been shown as realistically and phantasmagorically within a single movie.

  • An intense, fiery, hallucinatory film that’s filled with violence but doesn’t feature a single gunshot. What blood there is gets shed with pain and depicted with horror. There’s a sprinkling of off-kilter comedy and one arc of grand, lofty, classical irony, but the irony never pertains to the violence, about which the Safdies find nothing amusing. The violence isn’t aestheticized, prettified, lionized. Rather, it’s fast, plain, and sordid.

  • The raw energy so often missing from American indie filmmaking of late was back in spades in the Safdie brothers’ grimy New York heist thriller Good Time. Far from being overwhelmed or sanitised by Robert Pattinson’s reluctant aura of celebrity, the actor succeeded in injecting grit back into his image in a turn that Abel Ferrara would surely have applauded.

  • The masterstroke of the script (co-written by Josh with Ronald Bronstein) is how it takes a situation that, in almost any other film of this type, would be played for pathos – Connie’s desperate attempt to retrieve a confused Nick from police custody after the latter is arrested following a botched heist – and instead strip-mines it for every last iota of moral ambiguity. Brotherly love isn’t a higher calling here; it’s a trap that closes in on both siblings in different ways.

  • Pure propulsion. Connie’s impromptu solution to the crisis of each moment immediately creates the crisis of the next.

  • Good Time is propulsion at all costs. Pattinson is the unstoppable white male. The system supports him without fault, and everything he does can and ultimately will be forgiven in time. We see him as a sleazeball, a racist, a total cockroach, and we know that he’ll be given every chance to succeed again and again and again. He has the benefit of the doubt. The fact that the Safdies understand this and wring it for all its worth is one of the most bold and honest moves in all of movies this year.

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    Film Comment: Nick Davis
    January 03, 2018 | January/February 2018 Issue (p. 44)

    Good Time, blanked by the Cannes jury and spruned by late-summer audiences, has filmmaking chops that shame most of this fall's award contenders. The Safdies' typically intrepid sound design amplifies narrative tension while also evoking psychological turmoil that the brilliant performers must occasionally suppress. The cinematography shifts among black light, neons, and sooty nocturnes at no cost to visual coherence.

  • The American heist movie enjoyed something of a resurgence in 2017 with the releases of LOGAN LUCKY, BABY DRIVER and GOOD TIME. While the first two of these films are enjoyable, comedic, populist entertainments, the Safdie brothers' movie is, by contrast, a trickier, more troubling and ultimately more satisfying thing: a breathlessly paced thriller centered on an unlikable protagonist . . . that continually challenges viewers by making disturbing asides about racism in contemporary America.

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