Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) is a man driven by a strong love for his mentally challenged brother, Nick Nikas (Benny Safdie), and finds himself determined to provide for a better future for the pair by robbing a bank. After the job is botched, Nick becomes the unfortunate one that finds himself locked up inside Rikers Island – much to the despair of Connie. From there, Connie’s tricky quest of freeing his brother begins. A relatively good watch that greatly shadows the more recent release, Uncut Gems. Good Time is currently streaming on Netflix.
Director: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Writers: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie
After the disappointment (in my opinion) of Uncut Gems, I decided it may be a good idea to experience another film crafted by the highly rated Safdie brothers. Almost instantaneously you recognised this as a picture within the same mould of Uncut Gems as the opening act was highly paced and one of a chaotic and intense nature, with Connie and Nick being involved in and ultimately paying for their failed bank heist. From then on, the flick followed the same pattern and didn’t particularly have a dull moment. The pacing was strong and the plot rarely dragged – it could be argued that this was a diluted and slightly more relaxed version of the already spoken about, Uncut Gems.
A definite standout in this came from Robert Pattinson who adopted the role of Connie Nikas perfectly. Try as he may, every single attempt to assist his helpless brother backfired miserably and at times you found yourself wondering why he had done what he had done. For sure, he had great intentions, but on a whole he was an extremely negative influence in his brother’s life and caused more harm than good to those around him and those he dragged into the situation, as he ran the gritty but majestic streets of New York trying to be the hero.
An interesting or rather “annoying” scene to some, came when the filmmakers decided it would be an effective idea to have a highly charged and aggressive dog barking throughout an entire two-to-three-minute scene, which only added to the hectic goings-on but didn’t do a good job of calming the viewer at any point. Along with these kind of movie-making decisions, there came some bizarre and at times unbelievable directions in regard to the actual plot and storyline – having to suspend your belief through this one is a must.
With that being said, one thing that I felt could have been improved on was the backstories of the Nikas family in general. We didn’t know or learn too much about them and I felt that this could have been a direction explored in slightly more depth to answer some of the questions the viewer would have. Throughout, you found yourself having to make more and more assumptions about the pair and their journey.
Overall, a really good film that manages to keep you gripped from start to finish. Even when the hecticness surrounding the plot calmed, you could often find yourself feeling an incredible amount of sympathy and sorrow toward the pair, more so towards the mentally challenged brother, Nick. At times you felt like he was a pawn in a much larger scheme, with a rather bleak and disappointing support network around him. The final scene does a really good job of portraying this as it is one of relief but also sadness and realisation.
“I’ve just gotta get him out of there before something bad happens. He could get killed in there.”Connie Nikas – Good Time