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Criminal 'Good Time' goes awry in the best of ways

Good Time (Photo: A24)

Good Time
4 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Writer: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, Taliah Webster
Genre: Drama
Rated: R

Synopsis: Small-time crook Connie (Robert Pattinson) has the perfect plan for robbing a bank, but things quickly go awry when he includes his mentally handicapped brother Nick (Benny Safdie)

Review: For those who only know Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, “Good Time” is going to be something of a shock. For those who have followed his career as he has strayed away from mainstream cinema and established a great deal of respect from critics and art house audiences with “Cosmopolis,” “The Rover” and “The Lost City of Z,” “Good Time” will be seen as affirmation of the actors underappreciated talent. Pattinson is finally coming into his own and that’s a fantastic thing for cinema lovers.

“Good Time” is a film about brotherly love and the arrogance of a desperate man who isn’t smart enough to grasp his own stupidity. The film isn’t a celebration of criminality; it is a character study of a broken man with a warped sense of masculinity. Connie isn’t a hero. He isn’t even a proper antihero. He’s a character that is almost impossible to root for, which makes for a different kind of theatrical experience. The inroad between the audience and Connie comes through Nick, Connie’s mentally handicapped brother. Through Nick we get a sense of the home that the brothers were raised in. Violence begets violence. It doesn’t justify Connie’s choices, but his desire to escape from the world he has been placed in is easy to understand. Nick, poor Nick, is a body adrift. Even the happiest of endings won’t make him whole.

The bulk of "Good Time" finds Connie trying to outwit police, but it would take a miracle for him to ever make a clean escape. His capture is inevitable. It is just a question of what ridiculous feats Connie will attempt to keep his race from officials ongoing. In his mind he's intelligent enough to find a solution to an impossible equation. Every step forward is actually two steps behind.

“Good Time” is a fantastic cinematic experience with a career redefining role from Pattinson. It is also a further confirmation that directors Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie (“Heaven Knows What”) have a sharp eye for dark narratives. I look forward to whatever bleak voyages they might have planned for the future.

Pattinson, your cinematic past is forgiven. Well, except for “Remember Me,” there’s nothing that will redeem that film’s atrocious ending.

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