By Allison McCausland
A&E and Online Editor
Fresh off its premiere and Palm d’Or nomination at the Cannes Film Festival in August, “Good Time” is a non-stop thrill ride that has not permeated the crime-drama genre in a while. Catapulted by magnificent performances, fresh direction and a unique score, this film is one that is definitely worth checking out, despite how under the radar its marketing seems to be.
After a failed attempt to steal $65,000 from a bank, Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) desperately tries to secure funds to bail his brother, Nick (Ben Safdie), out of prison after he is arrested during their attempt to flee. Connie, having always been protective of his brother who also happens to be mentally handicapped, tries to do this as urgently as possible in fear of Nick’s safety. When his plan of using his girlfriend, Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh), to pay off the remaining bail for him falls through, Connie resorts to alternative means of securing his brother.
While trying to evade the police himself, Connie gets a stroke of luck when he finds out his brother was moved to a hospital after getting into a fight, and plans to break him out while it has limited security. Of course, nothing is ever that easy and chaos ensues. Connie’s journey to free his brother hits several roadblocks along the way, including in the forms of supporting characters Crystal (Taliah Webster) and Ray (Buddy Duress). The Nikas brothers never seem to catch a break as Connie races against the clock to secure his brother’s freedom as well as his own.
Pattinson surprisingly carries the film and shows that he is more of a dynamic actor than his “Twilight.” A role such as this one definitely highlights Pattinson’s ability to be a leading man as well as enable the audience to identify with his motives and struggle, giving one, if not the, best performance of his career so far. It helps that he had not one, but two up-and-coming directors who are familiar with character driven independent films to give him guidance.
The Safdie brothers, Josh and Ben, whom also plays the character of Nick, showcase their abilities to draw out electrifying performances from each of their actors while also telling an engaging story. Ronald Bronstein and Josh Safdie, who also helped write the script for the film, focus on the family-oriented perspective of the destructive love story, showing the lengths Connie will go to save his brother without losing his will to self-preserve his own freedom. What makes the film even more intense and engaging is the unique score electronic composer Oneohtrix Point Never, which garnered the films only win from the Cannes Film Festival with the Cannes Soundtrack Award.
Although some may be hesitant to check out the film, Pattinson and the Safdie brothers guarantee that the film is worth the price of admission. “Good Time” is a nice change of pace for the crime-drama genre and proves that it is a film that audiences will not regret seeing.
“Good Time” is rated R for violence, suggestive situations, alcohol and drug use and frightening or intense scenes.