Benny Safdie (left) and Robert Pattinson star in “Good Time” (Photo courtesy of A24 Films).
Not Up to Par with Predecessors
Hollywood has done it again.
Instead of coming up with something totally unique, filmmakers have chosen instead to revisit a worn out theme or genre, the bank robbery or bank heist film.
While movies like “Set it Off,” “Takers” and “The Town” did more to develop the characters and create somewhat of a unique storyline, with some exceptions (“The Town” was the same exact storyline as “Set it Off”), “Good Time” does none of that.
The fact that “Good Time” did not do more with the story is unfortunate because there was something to work with in the script if fully developed.
Unfortunately, “Good Time” was just “blah” when it could have been the bomb!
In “Good Time,” the Nikas brothers come from a poor and dysfunctional family.
Nick (Benny Safdie) is someone with special needs who has a tumultuous relationship with his grandmother.
While Nick does not really care for his grandmother, he has a hero-worship type relationship with his brother Connie (Robert Pattinson).
But instead of steering his brother Nick down the right path, Connie steers him towards a path of bank robberies and other criminal activity.
However, when Nick is arrested and not Connie, it becomes Connie’s mission to get Nick out of jail even though he is also being sought by law enforcement.
When Connie is finally able to devise a plan to free Nick from incarceration, the plot really thickens and spins the movie into a totally different direction.
“Good Time” does a good job in several regards.
The movie “Good Time” is brilliantly acted and includes great performances by Pattinson and Safdie.
Using dark and grainy camera work, “Good Time” has an authenticity that perfectly filmed HD or 3-D movies cannot capture.
Furthermore, one of the climatic scenes from a New York City apartment is excruciatingly well filmed.
Unfortunately, writers Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein should have dug deeper into the Nikas brothers’ family life.
The brothers’ rocky relationship with their grandmother should have been shown.
The dynamics that led the brothers into bank robbery should have been portrayed.
And more should have been shown about how Connie came to have so much negative influence over Nick.
Nevertheless, it is hard to ignore the potential of the Safdie brothers (both Josh and Benny directed “Good Time”).
Josh has made a name for himself mostly with short films and documentaries since 2002. Bennie has been following in his brother’s footsteps with shorts and documentaries since 2005.
However, if the Safdie brothers are to reach the heights of the filmmakers of bank robbery films like F. Gary Gray (“Set it Off”), Ben Affleck (“The Town”) and John Luessenhop (“Takers”), they will have to do more with potential.
The potential is there in the “Good Time” script, but the Safdie brothers should have used about 40 more minutes to give Nick and Connie’s backstory and what led them to their predicament.
Or more importantly, why would Connie lead his brother astray when he knew Nick did not have the mental capacity to make good decisions on his own?