If you remember Rob Pattinson as the teeners’ heartthrob in the Twilight series, you will be hard put to recognise him as the edgy smalltime crook in this frenetic film.
Pattinson is the mesmerising central character in Good Time, a non-stop crime thriller directed by New York film-making brothers Josh and Ben Safdie. Josh Safdie wrote the script, together with Ronald Bronstein.
Pattinson plays Constantine “Connie” Nikas, a fast-talking, explosive character who acts before he thinks, makes every move a wrong one and then hurtles into futile recovery mode. His one redeeming feature is his love for his simple-minded brother, Nick – but each misguided attempt to help Nick gets them into more trouble.
Ben Safdie is outstanding as the bumbling Nick – pathetically stupid but scary, ready to explode in frustration at any moment.
At the start of the film he is in a therapy session with a court-ordered psychologist, who seems to be making some progress until brother Connie bursts in and hauls Nick away.
He has something more important on the agenda – a daylight bank robbery, with both brothers disguised in black-face rubber masks.
Just when they think they have got away with the loot, the banknotes explode in a cascade of red dye, which envelopes both men and makes the cash useless. The police arrive, Connie escapes but slow Nick gets picked up.
From that point Connie gets entangled in a disastrous succession of mishaps as he desperately tries to rescue his brother. He is charismatic but ruthless, ready to use anyone he comes across.
He cons his needy girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh) into lending him the bail money for Nick, talks a trusting 16-year-old girl (Taliah Webster) into giving him the keys to her grandmother’s car, persuades the police that he is the security guard at the Adventureland amusement park when in fact the bashed guard is lying unconscious.
The film would be funny if it wasn’t so brutal. The action is non-stop, filmed by cinematographer Sean Price Williams in vivid, strident colour, and pulsing with a harsh electronic soundtrack by Daniel Lopatin, otherwise known as Oneohtrix Point Never.
This is not a film to relax in. It is gritty, intense and compelling, a no-holds-barred depiction of New York’s battling under-class.
Good Time will run at UWA Somerville Auditorium from December 4-10 and at ECU Joondalup Pines from December 12-17.
Watch the trailer…