Scene & Heard: Pattinson shines in the otherwise pedestrian ‘Good Time’

Good Time 1
Robert Pattinson and Benny Safdie as bank-robbing brothers Connie and Nick Nikas in the heist drama “Good Time.” (Photo courtesy of A24)

 

By Jared Huizenga – Contributing Writer

 

On some very late nights back in 2012, with the help of a friend and about a half-liter of flavored rum, I managed to drunkenly stumble my way through most of the “Twilight” movies.

 

Had you told me at that time that just five short years later, I’d be complimenting that series’ leads for their acting chops, I would have told you that you crazy and/or high. But here we are, and I’m going to do that very thing.

 

First it was Kristen Stewart earlier this year in “Personal Shopper,” and now it’s Robert Pattinson in “Good Time.”

 

In “Good Time” Pattinson stars as Connie Nikas, a manipulative bank robber who splits his time between lying, breaking the law, and caring for his special needs brother, Nick (Ben Safdie).

 

After removing Nick from a court-ordered program, the duo robs a bank of $65,000. Mid-escape, they discover a dye pack in with their cash. Unable to avoid it, the duo is marked head-to-toe in red dye and must avoid the cops on foot.

 

When approached by officers, a very scared Nick flees, with Connie hot on his heels. The older brother soon overtakes the younger, who finds himself in handcuffs and on his way to Riker’s Island.

 

Desperate to save his brother, Connie recovers the loot and tries to use it for bail. He’s short, however, by $10,000 and has to do whatever he can over the course of the evening to secure the funds and his brother’s safety.

 

First things first: if the story sounds a little busy and convoluted, that’s because it is. There’s a lot going on here and because of that – and the relatively average 99-minute run time, “Good Time” often feels rushed and under-developed.

 

That’s not to say that it isn’t interesting. It is. At least most of the time. There are times when you think Connie really cares for his brother, while there are others where you get the idea that he’s doing nothing more than using him. Given his relationship with other people – Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Corey comes to mind – you get the impression that his motivations could be one, the other or some distorted combination of the two.

 

However, there are also moments where the story drags or it simply doesn’t make sense. While you never really understand Connie, and Nick spends most of his time off-screen, side characters – namely Buddy Duress as Ray – are explored way more than the main characters. I think that spending more time on the brother dynamic here could have helped given the story more balance.

 

But the true A topic here is the performance of Pattinson. In my mind, Pattinson has never been a good actor or someone worthy of an award that doesn’t come in the form of a golden popcorn bucket statue or a neon-colored surf board and a bucket full of green slime. In this role though, I might be coming around.

 

Simply put, Connie is a jerk. He uses people, he lies, he steals, and he seemingly only looks out for his own well-being. But somehow, some way, you often find it hard to cheer against him. Pattinson definitely brings out the worst qualities of the character, but he also does his best to make you like him along the way. On top of that, there were times I forgot I was watching the former Edward Cullen on screen and was totally enveloped in the character. If we find him in end of the year awards talk, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

 

Overall, “Good Time” is pretty ho-hum. But Pattinson, in a performance that could very well propel him to the next level, makes it worth the trip to the theater.

 

★★★ of ★★★★★

 

Jared Huizenga is a freelance movie critic. Follow his work at www.facebook.com/JaredMovies.

 

 

Good Time 2
Robert Pattinson as bank robber Connie Nikas in A24’s “Good Time.” (Photo courtesy of A24)