If you're a regular here at the site, then you'll probably know that I am a big advocator of A24. They've released some of the year's best films, and they have a new release to be getting excited about: Good Time.

Ever since his Twilight days, we've seen somewhat of a resurgence from Robert Pattinson, constantly putting himself in different, compelling roles - showing us he is more than what that YA-franchise reduced him to. Here, he plays the hardened criminal Connie Nikas; when a heist he is pulling off, with his mentally ill brother Nick (co-director Benny Safdie in the role), goes awry and Nick ends up getting caught, Connie spends the night trying to do what he can to free his brother and save him from being sent to prison. Of course, along the way, it's not exactly a smooth journey and this story makes for one of the most riveting, surprisingly most unpredictable thrillers of the year. But, more than that, this is a remarkable character-study as we peer into the life of this criminal and the lengths he goes to for his brother. We'd typically expect an A24 release to have rich, compelling characters - just take a look at the likes of Moonlight, The Florida Project, even A Ghost Story for evidence of this - and Good Time is certainly no exception. The difference here, however, is that these aren't necessarily likeable people. Connie is despicable, morally putrid and vile - his only redeeming quality is perhaps his love for his brother. 
Nonetheless, what directors Benny and Josh Safdie (the latter, who co-wrote with Ronald Bronstein) so successfully manage to do here is create a character that, despite being quite the antagonising presence, is so compelling in his nature that it is hard not to be utterly riveted by his interactions with other characters, and his night of trying to free his brother. Robert Pattinson's incredible performance here also adds so much to the character and makes him one we can't take our eyes off. Pattinson gives a career-best performance here; he is commanding and fueled with a steely, if anarchic, determination that makes for some thoroughly entertaining viewing. It's the perfect example of a morally ambiguous character that acts as our protagonist and eyes into the film and story but here, he is also the antagonist too - damaging everything and everyone around him in his frenzied, hapless yet chaotic actions. He is just real. This how you would expect someone of his nature to behaviour, the film doesn't shy away from this, and it's so engrossing to watch.

Visually, Good Time is captivating. From its opening shot of a sweeping New York City to the various neon-drenched characters and the grainy texture of the shots, cinematographer Sean Prince Williams excels in creating a film that is pulpy and energetic; it's vibrant and psychedelic at times, with the colour bursting off the screen in their glorious, neon glory. It's a film that looks grungy and a bit dirty at times, though, grounding it in a palpable realism - it feels very documentary-esque at times, and given how real these characters are and this subject matter is, you can forget you're watching a fictional feature. The direction from the Safdie Brothers is masterful here, they orchestrate and character and tension superbly and create a film that feels so dirty and raw and genuine; it's a film that never shys away from anything and the word 'audacious' will often come to mind. Because that's what it is. It is bold and it is audacious and it is different - highly original and fresh, yes, but just so balls-to-the-wall insane, thematically, in some of what the film explores. It's quite hard to fault Good Time. It's vicious vibrancy and thematics might be off-putting for some; this is visceral, filthy character-work and cinema that never holds its punches. But it also makes for one of the outright best films of the year. A good time, indeed.


GOOD TIME OPENS IN THE U.K ON NOVEMBER 17TH, 2017.

VERDICT:

Good Time is a filthy, grungy and esoteric thrill ride. It is visceral, balls-to-the-wall insane and outright one of the best films of the year. A24 triumph again.

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About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

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