Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Movie Review: Good Time

I had heard good things about this indie thriller and found the film suspenseful and enjoyable showing a life that doesn't always receive the spotlight. Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) tries to take care of his troubled brother Nick Nikas (Benny Safdie) who has a learning disability. He takes him out of a learning program and on a heist at a bank. He wears the mask of a black man and demands the cash through handwritten notes. The thieves get away and are picked up by a friend but when they are driving away the bag explodes with red paint. Connie and Nick try to hide by washing off as much of the paint as they can and pulling up their hoods. The cops still question them and Nick takes off running. Connie follows and pulls ahead leaving his brother behind as Nick crashes through a window and is caught by the cops.

Nick is shipped to Rikers Island and his behavior problems lead him to be hospitalized. Connie works to free his brother by negotiating with the bail bondsman but the money is stained with red paint. He asks his girlfriend, Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to use her mother's credit card to pay the bond but Corey's mother doesn't like her boyfriend so she cancels the card before Corey can spend the ten thousand dollars. During the process to bail out his brother, Connie learns that his brother is in the hospital. Connie heads to the hospital to find his brother. He uses his craftiness to find his brother's room and break him out. He sneaks out covering his brother with his jacket and sneaking him onto a medical transport bus.

Connie has to think fast when the bus driver orders him to get off the bus so he pretends to be locked out of his house and begs to enter the house of one of the other passengers. He meets a young girl Crystal (Taliah Webster) who is underage but he makes out with her to keep her from seeing his face on the evening news. He discovers that the person he broke out of the hospital is not his brother but another ex-convict. The man, Ray (Buddy Duress), had a wild acid trip and ended up in the hospital. He knows where a bag of money and a bottle of acid is stashed in an amusement park. They take Crystal and her car to the park because the hospital is surrounded by cops.

At the amusement park, they search for the money but Ray finds the acid. A security guard (Barkhad Abdi) interferes with their search capturing Ray. Connie beats him up and takes his clothes while Ray covers his face in acid so that the poor security guard is tripping when the police arrive. Connie claims the guard is the intruder, and Crystal is also taken off by the police. Connie and Ray steal the guard's keys and car and head to his house. The guard has a wild pit bull dog that barks erratically until it smells the guard's coat on Connie. They shack up in the house until morning as Ray steadily drinks. He calls his friend as Connie demands that they sell the bottle of acid to get bail money for his brother. The friend plans to go get guns but Connie heads out on the run while making the dog attack Ray. The cops are waiting for him and Connie gets arrest as Ray falls from the high rise. 

The movie is intense never letting up and never giving Connie a chance to relax though he constantly pushes forward to free his brother. The movie has a ton of clever scenes where Connie takes bold steps to get into a place or steal something. Robert Pattinson is great in the role of Connie showing his talent after moving on from blockbuster films to meatier indie roles. The Safdie brothers direct it in a way that captures the thrill and terror of being on the run and dodging arrest on multiple occasions. I wasn't sure what to expect from Good Time but was pleasantly surprised at how it turned out.

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