Film Review: Good Time

There is a real sense of decay that engulfs Good Time, the new film by the Safdie brothers (Heaven Knows What). Whether it’s the gritty backdrop of New York City that plays a character in its own right or the social relationships destroyed by greed that define the characters themselves, Good Time is a rollercoaster of bad decisions and a piece of eerily raw cinema. It makes for an intense story of destruction that will linger long after the closing credits roll.

The first fifteen minutes of Good Time could be a full-blown heist movie in its own right, from one bad decision to the next it sets the tone for what follows. On from the heist, the film is set over one night as Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson), lives his dangerous and deeply troubled life as he aims to get bail for his learning disabled brother (Benny Safdie).

Pattinson originally requested that the Safdie brothers make a role for him. As a result, the directors of a number of independent gems have found themselves with a piece of cinema that is certain to push them towards bigger production values and out from the indie scene into the spotlight. Pattinson creates a character that is unbelievably vile and disturbing, using anyone that stands in his way. Connie is an addict, with an addiction for money and a survival instinct that makes for real depth and terror.

Most of Good Time is set at night, the Safdy brothers are native new Yorkers and it shows. The city feels dark, an almost Gotham-esque vibe that is vividly captured by cinematographer Sean Price Williams. His decision to shoot in widescreen 35mm leads to huge scale that feels raw rather than cinematic. Lighting plays a part as well with strobes and bright artificial lights that make the film feel almost hypnotic.

Good Time is an intense film that doesn’t give you any time to breathe or to assess what’s going on in front of you. It’s a non-stop challenge of morals from breaking into a theme park to find LSD to sell which leads to a racial profiling incident, to scamming love interests in order to obtain what you want. This is a push towards widespread critical acclaim for the Safdie brothers, their talent is of no question.

By John-Anthony Disotto

Good Time is screening at Glasgow Film Theatre between the 20th – 23rd of November. Anyone aged between 15 and 25 can get a free card from GFT that entitles them to £5.50 tickets to any standard screening.