A Review of "Good Time" by Nathan H. Box
Director: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, Writers: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie, Starring: Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, Taliah Webster
Rating: 1 Star, SKIP!
When I walk into a theater, I do so with a single thought on my mind; this is going to be a good film but I am open to being wrong. In other words, I sit down with the best of expectations. As the screen fades from black and we get our first glimpses of the characters and the setting, I begin to ponder new thoughts: Where is this plot going? Why should we care about these characters? In my mind, for a film to be truly great, the plot must be accessible. It can be smarter than us (Interstellar) or it can be stupid, yet entertaining (Dumb & Dumber). Whatever it is, it must be something the audience can put their faith in or easily suspend their disbelief. To the second question, you must be able to invest in the characters. They can be superheroes, the girl next door, or someone who is evil incarnate. Whoever they are, you must be able to feel what they are experiencing.
For me, "Good Time" never answers either one of these questions particularly well. The film features Robert Pattison and his mentally handicapped brother (Nick) played by Benny Safdie. Pattison plays Connie, a down on his luck and overly protective brother, who in his desperation to make it in New York City turns to a life of crime. Connie either uses or includes Nick during a bank robbery. They successfully leave the bank with the money only to find out a dye pack has been placed in their bag. In the confusion, Connie and Nick run the streets of New York covered in dye. After cleaning themselves up in a Domino's bathroom, they calmly stroll down a sidewalk before being confronted by an officer. In the moment, Nick makes a run for it and is arrested by the police. Connie escapes and devises a series of failed plans to get his brother out of jail. These plans range from using the stolen money as bail to a love interest's credit card to breaking him out of a hospital after Nick is admitted from getting beaten badly in prison.
Plan after plan, things continue to fall apart. Then, you as an audience member, are asked to stomach a ridiculous turn in the plot. I won't give it away here, but it literally made me gasp in the theater. Not from being surprised. Rather, I gasped because the plot point and the accompanying dialogue were so bad. After these scenes, I couldn't have cared less about what happened to the characters on screen.
Ultimately, as the movie draws near a conclusion, you are left to wonder if Pattison's character will do the right thing and take the fall for his brother. Again, I won't spoil the plot, but his options become less and less as the movie moves forward. After the film was over, I left with nothing more than regret. This was my first Robert Pattison movie. I skipped the "Twilight" craze. Sincerely, he has the range and the chops to be a great actor. He just needs a decent movie.
Be good to each other,