Good Time – Review

Worth seeing: for an impressive turn from an unrecognisable Robert Pattinson in an example of low budget film-making close to its thrilling best
Director:Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Featuring:Benny Safdie, Robert Pattinson, Barkhad Abdi, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Necro, Peter Verby, Taliah Webster
Length:102 minutes
Released:17th November 2017


Connie Nikas (Robert Pattison) is your typical New York low-life with a heart. He doesn’t have much going for him in life and relies on low-level crime to keep his head above water.

But he also has caring responsibilities, for his brother Nick (Benny Safdie), who has learning difficulties.

The pair carry out a bank heist and think they’ve got away with it, but the getaway doesn’t go to plan; Nick is caught and an accomplice with learning difficulties can’t be relied upon in the criminal underworld.

Connie sets out to secure Nick’s freedom – first by trying to borrow money from his unreliable girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh)’s mother to post bail and later, when he finds out that Nick has been transferred to hospital, by concocting a plan to slip him past his guards.

But today isn’t Connie’s day and nothing seems to be going right.


Good Time is that rarity – a surprisingly impressive low budget crime thriller that works and largely convinces, despite – or perhaps because of – the little-known creative talent at its heart.

A relatively simple, linear plot allows the action to flow and if a number of twists and turns seem a little over the top or unlikely, you’re happy to cut the upcoming Safdie brothers a break as they’re none-the-less convincing in terms of the narrative.

With only a couple of familiar names in the credits to attract potential audiences, the big draw – Robert Pattinson – is almost recognisable to anyone more familiar with the Twilight series or even the more recent The Rover – to the extent that some viewers have been known to leave the cinema asking “Which one was he?” He’s the lead, people. The lead.

He’s the brother of a man with learning difficulties, played by one of the two directors, and finds himself having to battle one obstacle after another in his efforts to set him free. There’s an interesting ambiguity to the story where it’s never quite clear the extent to which Nikas is trying to protect his brother – and how much he’s trying to protect himself.

Set against a pounding eighties-style electronic soundtrack, that acts almost like a throbbing heartbeat throughout, the film’s momentum keeps the story rolling at an exhilarating rate, as the action flips between locations and new supporting characters enter the fray.

In truth, many people would swerve a low budget crime thriller from a pair of brothers they’ve never heard of, so the casting of Robert Pattinson will have been key to both raising funding and securing distribution – but it’s far more than vanity casting, as Pattinson is continuing to up his game as a lead.

It’s perhaps a bit of a lazy conclusion but few fans of the genre – or of Pattinson himself – will emerge from the cinema not having had an unexpectedly Good Time.