Good Time Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, Taliah Webster. Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie. Rated R. Opens Friday in select theaters.
Toward the end of Good Time, low-level criminal Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) gives a bitter speech to a fellow degenerate about how the other man has wasted his life by taking from others and not making anything of himself. The irony is that Connie is the real parasite, spending the entire movie destroying the lives of nearly everyone he comes in contact with (including, eventually, the man to whom he gives that speech). The latest from filmmaker brothers Josh and Benny Safdie, Good Time is as tense and deliberately abrasive as their previous narrative films (including 2015’s acclaimed heroin-addict drama Heaven Knows What), with Pattinson immersing himself in their world of NYC dirtbags (many played by non-actors).
There’s a fine line between depicting the lives of unpleasant people and making an unpleasant movie, and the Safdies don’t seem to have much concern for it. Connie begins the movie by springing his mentally challenged brother Nick (Benny Safdie) from an institution and enlisting him as an accomplice in a bank robbery, just the first in a series of terrible decisions that Connie makes over the course of a day or so. Watching him for 100 minutes (often in dizzying, uncomfortable close-ups) gets to be tedious and grating, and the movie’s chaotic plot is more messy and unfocused than excitingly unpredictable. Eventually, Connie gets what’s coming to him, but not before alienating everyone around him, including the audience.