Robert Pattinson’s performance in the Safdie Brothers wild thrill ride is one of the year’s best
“Good Time” is a spark-shooting live wire covered in a thick coat of scuzz. This manic, kinetic thriller is a dumpster dive into a sleazy late-night underworld, and even its title seems like a lure to hook unsuspecting viewers.
Another lure is the casting of Robert Pattinson, the vampire pinup from the “Twilight” movies. Pattinson so thoroughly immerses himself into his role that if you didn’t know it was him, you’d be wondering who this street kid was and how he pulled off such a miraculous performance.
Pattinson plays Connie Nikas, a lowlife bank robber who ends up on the run after he pulls a heist with his hard-of-hearing, mentally impaired brother Nick (Benny Safdie, who directed the movie, along with his brother Josh).
Connie is barely scraping by, a have-not hoodlum with his back against the wall, his desperation his only motivator. So “Good Time” follows him deep into the night after his plans get flushed and he makes moves on a second’s notice.
You’re never quite sure where “Good Time” is headed next, and the movie has a jarring energy (and a propulsive electronic score from Oneohtrix Point Never) that keeps it buzzing. The Safdie Brothers — Josh shares writing credit with Ronald Bronstein — make it feel like it’s unfolding on the fly, and the opening of any door can take it in a completely new direction.
Pattinson’s performance is one of the year’s finest and a revelation for anyone who has wanted to pigeonhole him as an actor. He’s building up an impressive resume, and under the Safdies’ direction, he’s the engine that keeps this “Good Time” rolling.
Rated R for language throughout, violence, drug use and sexual content
Running time: 100 minutes