Review: Good Time – A good movie about a bad night

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Good TimeFor a film called Good Time, this one is definitely not that… unless your idea of a “good time” is watching some amazing acting performances. In that case, you’re going to have a great (albeit unsettling and intense) time at this movie.

Brothers Benny & Josh Safdie have created a film that is part Sling Blade and part The Boondock Saints, with a huge Martin Scorsese influence (see After Hours and Taxi Driver.) And in addition to co-directing, Benny Safdie also delivers an Oscar worthy performance as a mentally challenged man who is having a really bad week.

The story begins with a scene reminiscent of Blade Runner, with Nick Nikas (Ben Safdie) being questioned by a psychologist about an incident involving a frying pan. Nick’s brother, Connie (Robert Pattinson), shows up to get him away from the shrink, and what follows is an insane rollercoaster ride of violence and catastrophe.

Although his intentions seem somewhat honorable, in an anti-hero kind of way, Connie cannot catch a break. Everything he does seems to go wrong in one way or another as each ill-fated decision comes back to haunt him – almost immediately.

Good TimeAlong with Benny Safdie, Pattinson delivers an incredible performance as a desperate man trying to do something good, however bad the cost. Jennifer Jason Leigh also does a fantastic job as Connie’s gullible girlfriend, but her screen time is way too short.

Additionally, the film stars Taliah Webster as an impressionable teenage girl that gets caught up in Connie’s madness; Buddy Duress as a drugged out victim of misidentification; and Barkhad Abdi (whom you’ll recognize as the lead pirate from 2013’s Captain Phillips) as  an unlucky security guard.

Good Time does, in fact, have a lot of good going for it, but, on the down side, its musical score, by Daniel Lopatin (AKA Oneohtrix Point Never), grated on my nerves after a very short time. (That said… the score did win the “Soundtrack Award” at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival – so maybe it was just me.)

While this is a very well-crafted movie and very much worth seeing, it is not a comedy and it is not much fun to watch, so don’t let the title fool you. But, if you are down with a gritty, sort-of seventies-style throwback crime drama, you won’t find anything better in the theatres right now. Grade: 7.5/10

Photos Copyright © 2017 A24

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About the author

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Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.

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