Movie Review: “Good Time”
Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) has convinced his mentally disabled brother, Nick Nikas (Benny Safdie), to help him rob a bank. The brothers got the money and got out of the bank, but things quickly went haywire after that. They were pursued by the police, and while Connie was able to get away, he had to leave Nick behind in order to do so. Now Nick has ends up in jail with the potential of being let out on bail, but due to his disability, he lacks the ability to interact appropriately with other inmates.
Nick is in great danger and Connie is well aware of this. He is desperate to save his brother, and is willing to do whatever is necessary to get the money required to bail Nick out of jail. Unfortunately, getting to the money the two stole from the bank will not be easy. This takes Connie on a wild ride as he discovers just how far his desperation will take him. The risk of his brother pissing off the wrong person in jail is great. Connie needs to act quickly, but his desperation will surely bring him down a dark path.
The Pros & Cons
Robert Pattinson (+10pts)
The Patient (-4pts)
The Plot (-10pts)
Pro: Robert Pattinson (+10pts)
Robert Pattinson was simply outstanding in this movie. Before seeing this movie, my only real experiences with Robert Pattinson were his brief role in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and the Twilight movies, so needless to say, my expectations of him were not very high. Then I saw the movie, and his performance blew me away. This character was desperate, he was intense, and he was a little bit crazy. On top of that, he was also smart, angry, and violent.
There was a lot that went into this character, and Robert Pattinson brought it to the screen masterfully. Almost everything he said was spoken by a man who felt like he was going crazy, like a volcano that could erupt into madness at any moment. Every action felt desperate, making the character feel unpredictable and unhinged. Robert Pattinson made this character as captivating as one could make a character. This was a character that had a plan, only for the rug to be pulled out from under him. Robert Pattinson played the character with a desperate intensity that made him so compelling to watch. The movie was far from great, but I thought Robert Pattinson was outstanding in the lead role.
Con: Slow (-6pts)
Do not let the trailer fool you. It was a trailer that suggested the movie would be fast-paced, intense, action-packed, and suspenseful. However, this movie was the definition of the term "slow burn". So much of this movie was spent showing seemingly random scenes where the main character sat in his own anxiety. These scenes included the main character: sitting with a young girl watching the news, sitting in front of a television watching white noise and dying his hair, and sitting in a car while listening to a random criminal talking about his problems.
Do not get me wrong, this movie has some intense moments, and there was plenty of suspense, but the movie was far from what the trailer suggested it would be. It was a slow, character story about a man on the run, who was desperate to save his brother, and was willing to do bad things in order to make that happen. The action and exciting moments certainly happened, but this movie was really about what the main character was going through between the exciting moments. That could have made for a good movie, but I do not think the filmmakers executed it well. There seemed to be very little focus on the exciting moments, so the slower scenes felt random and felt like they dragged on a lot longer than they needed to.
Pro: Intensity (+4pts)
The movie was slow, but during the shocking, action-packed moments, this movie was incredibly intense. Most of this can be credited to the captivating performance by the lead actor, but credit also has to be given to the gritty nature in which the film was shot. The filmmakers shot the movie in a way that made everything feel dirty and raw. During the more exciting moments, this movie was definitely intense, simply due to the excitement. However, during the slower moments, Robert Pattinson's captivating performance paired with the gritty tone of the movie to maintain the movie's intensity even during the slower scenes. The movie plot was not really all there, but I thought the filmmakers did a good job of playing up the intensity anyway.
Con: The Masked Patient (-4pts)
I do not want to explain this character too much because I do not want to spoil the moment in the film. However, this character popped up suddenly, and quickly got significant focus, despite being completely meaningless to the plot. The character initially claimed to not know how they wound up where they did. The very next sentence out of the character's mouth began his origin, explaining exactly how he got there. It was a pointless character, whose development made no sense whatsoever, and his backstory blatantly contradicted itself.
I wish the filmmakers gave so much more character development to the two main characters. The two brothers were the heart of this story and gave so much weight to the premise of the film. Unfortunately, the brothers got very little character development. It was then a little weird to discover that the filmmakers gave "the masked patient" as much focus as they did.
Pro: The Brothers (+5pts)
The brothers were the emotional center of this movie. Nick Nikas had a mental disability that, among other things, made it challenging for him to socialize with others effectively. He then found himself in prison after attempting a bank robbery with his brother. Connie Nikas was the mastermind behind the heist and was incredibly protective of his brother.
This movie was at its absolute best when these two characters were on screen together. Connie's compassion toward his brother was a perfect complement to Connie's intensity. It made it clear that Connie would do anything to protect his brother, and it was clear that Nick trusted that Connie would do just that. The two characters were interesting individually, but the movie was so much more entertaining when the two were interacting with one another on screen. Unfortunately, that did not happen a lot, but the movie was really interesting when it was.
Con: The Plot (-10pts)
Pretty much all of this movie's issues stemmed from the mess that was the plot. I am honestly baffled as to who wrote this nonsensical story. On the surface, it was a story about a man trying to put together enough money to get his mentally disabled brother out of jail, a place that is a great danger to someone like him. That seemed like a straightforward premise. That is until you realize that the main character was the one responsible for his brother being in jail in the first place. I also could not help but thinking that the brother would not have been placed in a jail like the one he was in, and would have been placed in a facility where he would be safe.
Additionally, there were a ton of other questions that I had, regarding this movie. What were the two brother's motives in attempting the heist? Why was I watching Robert Pattinson making out with a sixteen year old girl? Why was I watching this completely random character (the masked patient) and learning his backstory, while the main characters' stories were left underdeveloped? On the surface, this movie's premise had potential, but it felt like the filmmakers had no idea how to bring that premise to the screen, and the nonsensical plot was proof of that.
Grade: C- (74pts)
Critics loved this movie and I am very honestly not sure why. Sure, Robert Pattinson was outstanding, and I cannot argue anyone that said he deserved Oscar recognition for this performance. The filmmakers also did a good of ramping up the intensity during major plot points, and did a good job at maintaining that intensity during the slower sections. Unfortunately, I did not think that intensity was enough to save this movie from its problems. The main plot was made up of nonsensical scene after nonsensical scene, where Connie had meaningless interactions with meaningless characters. This would been forgivable if these interactions were at least interesting, but I did not think they were.
The movie was slow, random, and it had weak plot. There was some intensity and there was a great performance from Robert Pattinson. Unfortunately, its strengths were not enough to make up for its weaknesses. I did not think it was "bad", but I do not recommend spending money on it. Maybe give it a shot if you see it on a streaming service that you already have. Who knows? Maybe you will like it more than I did.