Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Good Time

Good Time has made quite a number of critics’ top-ten lists (for 2017), so I thought I’d better give it a look. That was a mistake, because this fast-paced stylistic thriller is not worth watching except for its technical merits. 

The one thing Good Time is not is a good time. It is a raw, brutal ice-cold film full of mostly unsympathetic characters. Robert Pattinson stars as Connie Nikas, who hauls his mentally challenged brother, Nick (Ben Safdie), out of a therapy session to rob a bank. It’s not clear why Connie needs Nick, but the heist goes badly and Nick gets caught. Connie tries to post bail for his brother and finds out Nick is in a hospital after a fight in prison. So Connie breaks Nick out of the hospital, which again goes badly, leading to further crimes that also go badly, this time with a parolee named Ray (Buddy Duress) in tow. 

Pattinson’s acting, as the intense overwhelmed Connie, is very good, with solid support from the other actors involved. The cinematography is (appropriately, I suppose) constantly moving, which only rarely impresses me, and the loud overwhelming music, which got my blood pumping in the early going, and which was one of the best things about the film early on, eventually turned me off. But the biggest problem for me was that the promising start, focusing on Connie’s poorly-displayed love for his brother, faded farther and farther from a story that could engage me, making me feel like cringing during much of the film’s last half hour.

Good Time is the kind of indie thriller that impresses critics because of its style and intensity. If the characters and/or story were more compelling (i.e. if the writing was better), I might have agreed. But Good Time didn’t work for me. **+. My mug is down.

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