It’s fairly odd that I saw Good Time the same day as Columbus, because I can’t think of two more tonally different movies I’ve seen this year. And yet, somehow I think that contrast worked in their favor, since they both present two sides of the same pleasure coin that more adventurous cinema can provide these days. In particular, Good Time feels like a much more down-and-dirty version of Baby Driver, offering the sensation you get when a film aims to grab you by the neck and never let go.
Good Time uses a bank robbery as its jumping off point, but by the end of it feels like only one of many botched schemes that the film’s protagonist, Connie (played by Robert Pattinson) has managed to fuck up. Connie plots to rob the bank while accompanied by his mentally handicapped brother Nick (played by the film’s co-director Benny Safdie), and Nick is almost immediately caught. After Nick is sent to the hospital after a brutal jailhouse brawl, Connie spends the rest of the movie trying to get his brother out, but never really gets close due to pretty much everything not going in his favor.
I suppose the first thing to address about Good Time is its use of Pattinson, front, center, and close up as the film’s star. He’s in basically every scene of this movie, and he’s pretty darn good in it, though a lot of it is reacting to his ever-heightening circumstances. The former Twilight heartthrob seems to be taking a page from his former co-star Kristen Stewart’s playbook by doing mostly weirder, less mainstream films as of late. And I’d say that’s perfectly fine, since they both seem to be decent actors that just happen have kind of a hokey past. Though I’m not so sure the same can be said for Taylor “King of the Blockheads” Lautner, but who knows…
Another thing I was a bit skeptical about with this film from its opening moments was its heavy synth-driven score, done by Oneohtrix Point Never (aka one of those Pitchfork artists I’ve ignored forever). But the score is quite a bit stranger than your average Drive knock-off, and gets increasingly more experimental as the film gets even more unwieldy as we delve deeper and deeper into Connie’s debauched exploits. And combined with its close-up heavy visual aesthetic it makes for an insanely intense movie-going experience, that’ll leave you so sweaty and dirty you’ll wanna take a shower, but in a good way.