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« Good riddance, August! | Main | "78/52" Trailer teases method behind madness of Hitchcock's "Psycho" »
Wednesday
Aug302017

Review: "Good Time" 

By Spencer Coile 

2017 has quietly become the post-Twilight year of Pattinson & Stewart. After Kristen Stewart dazzled in Personal Shopper, Robert Pattinson was given a leading role worthy of his talent in the Safdie Bros. film, Good Time. Taking place throughout the span of one night, Pattinson's Connie scrambles to get his brother Nick (Benny Safdie) out of jail after a fumbled bank heist. 

As far as plot is concerned, that is all you need to know. The Safdie brothers then let this story unfold in such quick, confident ways that all you are left to do is sit back and grip the sides of your chair...

 Good Time is frustrating, twisted, and deeply unsettling. Fortunately, it would seem all parties are in on this queasy story of redemption, and work within those confines. It isn't trying to be anything but a pulse-pounding modern-day thriller. 

Like Stewart in Personal Shopper, Pattinson works diligently to create a character that is fully realized. Connie is far from likeable, and his actions oftentimes make no sense, but they all help to make Pattinson's portrayl of this loose canon even more human. Connie condescends. He lies. He deceives. But he remains compelling. Behind his facial expressions, behind every scoul is a veneer of desperation, of wanting to achieve more than what he has. The screenplay leaves little insight into Connie as anything less than a crook, but Pattinson is sure to imbue every moment (and he is on screen for most of the film) with that quiet desperation. After all, behind his actions is the desire to spring his brother out of prison, out of harm's way. 

The stakes in Good Time are what makes the plot so ingenious. The film focuses on Pattinson's overnight journey, but the Safdie brothers are quick to remind their audience that there is a pulsing world right outside each frame in the film. When another prison convict goes into lengthy detail about how he ended up in the backseat of Pattinson's car, we are taken on a new adventure altogether. This is a character we have no investment in, no connection to (at one point my friend leaned in and whispered, "Why did they include this?"), but the choice feels intentional, indicating that while Connie's plight is real and genuine, it is no less important than anyone else's story. In overhead shots of Pattinson and co. driving down the highway with multiple cars around, it is a struggle to find which one is his. This feeds into that theme even further -- that while our stories and our lives are important, there is always another story transpiring. And in a sense, Pattinson joins a system that would sooner forget his story than actually help him free his brother. 

Barkhad Abdi, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Taliah Webster all make notable appearances as characters that Connie uses, lies to, or takes advantage to ultimately save Nick from prison. Yet no performance stands out more prominently than Robert Pattinson. His unnerving portrayal of Connie is equal parts sinister and endearing, wherein his actions are completely ruthless, but oddly relatable. Ultimately, Good Time is not a simple viewing. But the Safdie Brothers have concocted an enthralling examination of desperation and hopelessness. It is visceral and heartbreaking. And if anything, another solid entry into Robert Pattinson's (already) impressive film career. 

Let the year of Stewart and Pattinson continue. 

Grade: B+

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Reader Comments (6)

omg, Stewart has never created a believable character in her life, and that includes Personal Shopper. When she walks up the driveway in the opening shot, it's HER walk. When she stutters, shakes her leg, plays with her hair, shakes her head before saying a line of dialog -- that's all her, not the character. Literally anyone could have played that role and been more convincing. All she did was pick up clothes in stores, ride a motorbike carrying bags, try on clothes, wander thru empty houses while looking scared and read text messages. There was no character development or arc.

Same flat, monotone voice she uses in every film. She can't do accents and she never varies her voice. Did you notice all the family in Billy Lynn had Texas accents except for her? Go look again.

Pattinson on the other hand is a real actor, capable of doing voice work and is a master at accents. He also creates walks for characters, they don't all walk like he does in his real life. The Twilight franchise ended 5 years ago and they have nothing to do with each other any more. I don't know if you've kept up, but at Cannes just 3 months ago he confirmed that he hasn't seen her and they are no longer in touch. They're not friends, and they have no connection. This reaching by critics to try and compare their careers and keep them tied to each other needs to stop. It's crazy.

I don't see critics doing this with Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson, or Shailene Woodley and Theo James, or any other pair of actors who starred in YA franchises. Also, if you want to do a real comparison of their careers, she peaked in 2015 and has gone downhill since then. Equals was so bad it went straight to VOD, and everything else has been a flop at the box office--Certain Women, Personal Shopper, Billy Lynn, a huge bomb. She's made a low budget horror movie, Lizzy, which has no distribution, another low budget movie with a no name director, and a disaster movie with a flop director. You know what they say about an actor's career when all they can get are horror movies and disaster movies with no name directors, right?

She's box office poison and isn't being offered anything better, or she would jump at it. 2017 is not her year. She doesn't belong in the conversation with Pattinson at all, who has two films on the Best of 201 lists, with Good Time and The Lost City of Z. It's time the critics woke up and started acting like adults.

August 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSage

Sounds like someone is not a Stewart fan. 🙄

P.S. The people on this site are not traditional "critics," although they do review films (on occasion). Relax already.

P.P.S. Stewart was awesome in Certain Women, gracing the most moving chapter of the film.

August 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Kristen Stewart was spellbinding in Personal Shopper. My favorite female performance so far this year.

As for Good Time, I enjoyed it a lot. Much improved over Heaven Knows What, though some of its stylistic flourishes could've been scaled back. I agree with Spencer that not only did I like the break from the plot to show the other crook's hours leading up but it was a smart move as it widened the scope and made it a welcoming change of pace. Robert Pattinson was strong too. Easily his best work. Hopefully this does well since nearly every film of his flops hard.

August 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJess

it is irreplaceable, i read about it in aadhar card download website.

August 31, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjackie

Oh my goodness - I demand that Sage's post is framed and hung in the Team Experience Hall Of Fame. Literally dozens of spin-off articles could come from this -

1) Method Acting - does every character need their own signature walk?
2) Box Office Poison - should an "arthouse" actress with millions in the bank still be chasing mainstream mediocity like her less financially fortunate peers?
3) Accents - should actors who don't/can't "do accents" be disqualified from Oscar contention?
4) Pattinson and Stewart - if they bumped into each other at a premiere, would they say "hello"?
5) So Bad It Went Straight To VOD - has Sage been asleep while Netflix and Amazon Prime started their takeover?

August 31, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

Where is my comment? This is robert pattinson's movie Good Time not kstew's movie. I haven't seen his name being mentioned in Personal shopper review. Stop inviting crack group of crazies from twilight.

August 31, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMi

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