There are films that can be summed up in just a few words and others, depending on the content, are so infuriating and frustrating that more words are needed. Good Time is most definitely the latter. The film, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, is a unique experience, but not a good one. Its story, which is paper thin at best, drags on without any real character development. It feels a lot like being dropped into a bad memory or dream, watching events unfold and without a means to stop them from happening.
Constantine “Connie” Nikas (Robert Pattinson) decides to rob a bank with his brother, Nick (Benny Safdie), but when things go awry and Nick is caught, Connie sets out on a mission to get Nick back. However, without any real plan and common sense thrown out the window, Connie is nervous and rash, meeting people who, for some reason, either decide to help him or are in his way. One mistake leads to another as Connie becomes more desperate to try and dodge the cops from cathcing him and throwing him in jail.
Good Time is easily one of Robert Pattinson’s most hardcore role. But his good performance, which relies solely on his character being selfish, unthinking, and a plague upon everyone he meets, doesn’t necessarily make for a good film. The film, which could have easily focused on Nick’s struggle with opening up and dealing with his mental illness, instead relies too heavily on the crime and run formula. There’s no established rapport with any of the characters. They filter in and out like a lightbulb flickering in a dimly lit room and we can never see them quite clearly. This makes it impossible to care about what happens to them or their journeys. The plot is meant to thrill and keep you at the edge of your seat, but it winds up being tragically dull and lacking in tact.
In addition to that, Connie is just a terribly uncaring person. Everyone he seems to come into contact with ends up in a bad way and he never bats an eyelash before running and leaving them behind. He tells people what they want to hear and gets away with it, but never delivers. And why does he not feel any remorse? The film never really delves into his past and this takes away from the film. Connie also gets into situations where he takes advantage of his privilege and it’s the black characters who end up paying the price for his carelessness. Also apparent is that directors Josh and Benny Safdie want the audience to know that Connie cares for nothing but his brother. And, in some ways, the film proves that he does care, but the entire character arc and emotional aspects are mishandled.
Moreover, it doesn’t seem like Good Time has anything concrete to say. What lessons did Connie learn? Why is he so reckless and so willing to not think things through? Any potential to like or truly root for Connie is kicked to the curb because the film’s execution is quite shaky and Pattinson’s character questionable at best, an outright terrible person at worst. Good Time is gritty, but a thrilling and good crime drama it is not. The pacing is far too slow and the story certainly not really engaging in any way that holds even an iota of attention.
Ultimately, Good Time is anything but. It tries far too hard to be rough around the edges, but it’s rather devoid of emotion. Pattinson is good, but his performance never elevates the film. The film is focused more on getting to the finale than about making us care about anything else. It had the potential to be an emotionally riveting story, but with lines such as “I think something very important is happening and it’s deeply connected to my purpose” after trying to sleep with an underage girl, it’s hard to feel the weight of Connie’s actions or very much care for him and his journey at all.
Ultimately, Good Time is anything but. It tries far too hard to be rough around the edges, but it's rather devoid of emotion. Pattinson is good, but his performance never elevates the film.