Good Time

Good Time ★★★★★

This was actually recommended to me by one of my Letterboxd friends; and I'm glad he did so, because I would've skipped this movie entirely otherwise, and it turned out to be one of the better films I've seen in the last year. Helmed by brothers Benny and Josh Safdie, who in 2014 made the mesmerizing addiction feature Heaven Knows What by casting the then-current addict and memoir author Arielle Holmes in the autobiographical lead role, Good Time from three years later is similarly set among the down-and-out fringes of New York City, starring an unrecognizable Robert Pattinson as a petty thief who botches a robbery that he commits with his developmentally disabled brother Nick (played by co-director Benny Safdie himself), then must survive a harrowing 24 hours in which a surprise opportunity arises to bust Nick out of a prison-supervised hospital stay, but then everything that can go wrong does in the day following the breakout.

That's what makes this movie so compelling, is that the peril and stakes for the duo are deadly and relentless, the two just barely managing to get out of one pickle by the skin of their teeth before immediately landing in their next unsolvable bind, then the next after that, then the next after that. It's the very definition of the cliche "high octane thriller," in that things nearly fall apart for our antiheroes just five minutes after the movie begins, then never let up until all the way to the closing credits; and with superb direction and cinematography by the Safdies, this makes for a movie that (to use another cliche) keeps you on the edge of your seat during the entire running time, as you marvel at just how this Mice and Men-like couple are going to manage to get out of their ten-level-deep jam. It comes strongly recommended in that spirit, a true rollercoaster of a thriller that at all times veers off into fascinating directions you would never expect.

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