Despite a 2017 release date, “Good Time,” directed by the Safdie Brothers, feels like it could have been released in the late 70s. It stars Robert Pattinson as Connie, who, much like his former “Twilight” co-star Kristen Stewart, has taken on nothing but interesting projects since that series ended. The tale of Connie is the kind of gritty and offensive thriller that feels of a time and place. It harkens back to a filmmaking era where New York’s landscape inspired films such as “Death Wish” and “Taxi Driver” by taking viewers on a tour de force through parts of the cities and into lives Hollywood traditionally glosses over. But make no mistake, this film is not for everybody.
It’s an ugly film about reprehensible people and the lives they ruin along the way. Connie takes advantage of anybody in his orbit on his quest to rescue his brother, a mentally disabled man caught up in Connie’s illegal activities. Early in the film, we see them successfully rob a bank (only to botch the getaway which serves as the inciting incident for all that follows.) What drives Connie? Is his criminal behavior excused because he’s doing it to help somebody who can’t help themselves? Or is it enabled?
The Safdie brothers wear their film influences on their sleeves but it doesn’t feel lacking in originality. Robert Pattinson’s is a 21st Century Travis Bickle wreaking havoc in a landscape painted by Michael Mann. His interactions and journey though are of this time. It is confrontational and harsh in a way films these days rarely feel like. At the end of the ride, however, some viewers may feel a lack of resolution for all the characters involved. Like any good bender, waking up when it is all said and done may leave you feeling hollow. That is not to say that the ride is not worth taking, but much like Chris Nolan’s “Dunkirk,” “Good Time” is a bit more of an experience than a complete story.