Good Time

Good Time ★★★★★

When Connie moves, we move. When Connie stops, we stop. When Connie reacts, we react. This is a film that redefines the idea of film being called "The Motion Picture," one that deconstructs, at least technically, what a camera can do in regards to characterization; the Safdie's, already solidifying their rising stardom with "Good Time," inject this drug, their atmosphere and their tension into the framework of their film and it energizes it, gets it to move. We're strapped for the ride and we can't look away. This drug the Safdie's inject doesn't relent. It moves and moves and moves until we're so exhausted, emulating Connie's final scene, as calm, haunting, and oddly relaxed as he is. "Good Time" is anxiety, the ticking time bomb that plays in our head when things get continuously worse.

Cloaked in the bubbly scene of neon and the soothing, operatic sound of the synth, "Good Time" is a firecracker, filled to the brim with these comforting sounds and pretty colors, but it's all about to slap us in the face. This is Hell-on-Wheels motioning us into the hazy world, one big Devil trick; everything in "Good Time" looks great, but it's layered with the colors and the sounds. The slums of New York ("The Greatest City") are still the slums of New York, where adapting and survival are key necessities to moving throughout the city without bodily harm. Most films showcase New York as the "Big City"; as Frank Sinatra sung to us in "New York, New York:" I want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps, And find I'm king of the hill, Top of the heap." These films are showing the beauty in New York and sure, there's been films that displayed the deadly parts of it (IE: Gangster films), but it's rare for a modern day film to completely understand its location; everything looks great in "Good Time," but this is merely the adaption strategy put into place. Anything can look good with neon and sound, but it's what's underneath that rings true to "Good Time." This is the film where voices are heard, the undesirable, unspeakable truths to America, one that rings true in today's climate, politically or not.

But "Good Time" and its success don't fully click without its performances and yes, every single actor in this is committed to delivering some of their best work. Each performer is a shocking revelation to the World, each burns down the World with how much realism is portrayed. These are lives --the bum, the drug addict, the mentally unstable, the disabled, the poverty stricken-- that we should hear from; "Good Time," with their performers (ranging from Jennifer Jason Leigh's broken performance to Benny Safdie's brutal depiction of a disabled man), gives that brief, but important voice. Each performer leaves you stricken, shocked at the lives they live. None more, however, than Robert Pattinson.

Pattinson consumes every bit of insanity that Connie has on-screen. Here is a man attempting to do the right thing and in doing so, contradicting his goals and ultimately does the wrong. Here is a man about to snap, as this one night pushes every single bit of energy out of his body. He cannot rest, he cannot sleep. He's a calculated man, observing the world as a game, a scam, a get rich quick operation, a benefit, a prophet, the opportunities, and the American Dream. Connie tries to be the predator in a world full of vultures, but he can't be that cold-hearted; his weak link, his savor, is his drive for his brother's safety. This becomes his downfall --every sense of motivation Connie has is for his brother's safety. He will do anything to save him, protect him, and spare him of this life, the life that he leads. He, too, wants to escape, but the vultures pull him back in. Pattinson's final shot is haunting: Connie rests in the hands of the people who'll kill him. He's accepted his death (jail), but in some way, saved his brother from the Devil's embrace. Pattinson's control over that scene is startling. We know longer see his pop culture characters, we've just seen a man and in doing so, solidifies Pattinson's status as being the best young actor working today. Connie is complex, but so is life. And Pattinson understands everything about Connie. It's all in the eyes.

I'd like to pay one more note towards the credits. Life doesn't stop in film. Just because the camera fades to black after the final scene, doesn't mean that there's still lives in motion behind the frame. We're forced to see the results of the characters and their choices. The credits roll up, but life doesn't stop. This hazy, neon cloaked, drug induced, ballsy, insanity, synth endurance test is ultimately, another day in the life of the voiceless; we're all trying to get out, "Good Time" is just one voice amongst many who want to change it all, even if it means doing some of the most impossible things one can do.

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