The Daily Gamecock

Reel Talk: "Good Time" impresses with fast pace, high energy

Robert Pattinson in "Good Time." (A24)
Robert Pattinson in "Good Time." (A24)

When you hear the name Robert Pattinson, what image comes to mind? I can almost guarantee you it’s one of two characters: the pale, mysterious dreamboat Edward Cullen from the "Twilight" franchise or the tragic hero Cedric Diggory from "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire." 

For years, I was the same way. You could say Pattinson’s name and I would chalk him up as nothing more than good hair and a chiseled jawline. I definitely wouldn’t tell you he was a great actor. 

However, after viewing Josh and Ben Safdie’s new film "Good Time," my impression of the man has completely changed. Now, when you say the name Robert Pattinson, I am left with a single, distinct image: a scruffy, manic man in an Ecko Unlimited hoodie tearing through the streets of New York as he runs away from the cops. Now, I can tell you with certainty that Robert Pattinson is a true actor.

"Good Time" opens in a therapist’s office. Nick Nikas (co-director Ben Safdie), converses with his therapist, and soon we can see that Nick is mentally handicapped in a way that prevents him from understanding the consequences of his actions or the nature of the world around him. Not long after the conversation starts, however, Nick’s brother Connie (Pattinson) bursts into the room. Connie forcefully removes Nick from the therapy session, believing that he is doing Nick good by keeping him from the doctors.

After the first scene, "Good Time" descends into mayhem and chaos for the rest of its tight 100 minutes. Born into unfortunate circumstances, Nick and Connie have resorted to a life of crime. In the first extended scene, the two botch a bank heist and Nick is sent to Rikers Island. For the rest of the film, Connie attempts to come up with the money to pay his brother's bond. Over the course of the night, Connie travels through slums, a hospital and a theme park in a desperate attempt to help his brother.

The energy of "Good Time" becomes an integral part of the story itself and makes the film one of the best of the year. Quick, close shots create buzzing excitement and contribute to the film in ways that I have never seen before. The narrative revolves around both a character and a city that are filled with nervous energy that is complemented perfectly by the tight cinematography. 

The combination of Pattinson's performance, the setting, shot composition and the Safdie Brothers' strong direction have created a film that stands out among others as a unique and powerful piece of art in a world of often commonplace themes and ideas.


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