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Good Time, a soundtrack in search of a movie

An honest portrait, if an unattractive one

An intense, controlled Robert Pattinson in Good Time
An intense, controlled Robert Pattinson in Good Time

My first thought upon leaving co-directors Benny and Josh Safdie’s Good Time (Josh co-wrote, while Benny co-stars alongside an intense, controlled Robert Pattinson) was: A soundtrack in search of a movie.

Movie

Good Time **

thumbnail

More than a soundtrack in search of a movie, though Daniel Lopatin’s propulsive electronic score displays an excellence and precision that most decidedly does not come through in cinematographer Sean Price Williams’ beyond-extensive use of closeups. Star Robert Pattinson can act, and he’s not hard to look at. But to justify the amount of acreage his face occupies for what seems like half the film, his young mug would have to <em>fascinate</em>, to serve as a clear expression of the complicated machinations below its surface. It doesn’t, and with good reason: it wouldn’t make sense for the part. Pattinson’s desperate character is, more than anything else, an animal operating on instinct: avoid capture, protect the pack (in this case, a mentally challenged brother who just wants to be able to “do what I want when I want.”). And while his instincts are sharp, he’s not so great at thinking things through. It could be argued that the film’s whole point is the stupidity of youth, the belief that the old have nothing to offer but restriction, frustration, and in a pinch, material support. If that’s the case, then it’s an honest portrait, if an unattractive one. And co-directors Bennie and Josh Safdie excel at catching the feel of those who really are living on the edge: struggling immigrants, hopeless ex-cons, and the tortured souls who cannot build a life with their pieces of the broken world. Maybe it’s not their fault that this dark joyride offers neither an ordered route nor a satisfying destination.

Find showtimes

That’s not altogether fair, but it is understandable: Daniel Lopatin’s propulsive electronic throb and thrum display an excellence and precision that most decidedly do not come through in cinematographer Sean Price Williams’s beyond-extensive use of closeups. (And since the directors tend to call the shots about when it comes to camera placement…) Pattinson can act, even if he often seems just a touch removed and remote, and he’s not hard to look at. But to justify the amount of acreage his face occupies for what seems like half the film, his young mug would have to fascinate, to serve as a clear expression of the complicated machinations below its surface.

It doesn’t, and with good reason: it wouldn’t make sense for the part. Pattinson’s desperate character is, more than anything else, an animal operating on instinct: avoid capture, protect the pack (in this case, a mentally challenged brother who just wants to be able to “do what I want when I want”). And while his instincts are sharp, he’s not so great at thinking things through. Again and again, his plans go sideways, from a bank robbery to a daring rescue to an illicit attempt at fundraising. It could be argued that the film’s whole point is the stupidity of youth, the belief that the old have nothing to offer but restriction, frustration, and, in a pinch, material support. As Pattinson puts it to his brother: “Fuck Grandma! It’s just you and me!”

If that’s the case, then it’s an honest portrait, if an unattractive one. And the Safdies excel at catching the feel of those who really are living on the edge: struggling immigrants, hopeless ex-cons, and the tortured souls who cannot build a life with their pieces of the broken world. Maybe it’s not their fault that this dark joyride offers neither an ordered route nor a satisfying destination.

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An intense, controlled Robert Pattinson in Good Time
An intense, controlled Robert Pattinson in Good Time

My first thought upon leaving co-directors Benny and Josh Safdie’s Good Time (Josh co-wrote, while Benny co-stars alongside an intense, controlled Robert Pattinson) was: A soundtrack in search of a movie.

Movie

Good Time **

thumbnail

More than a soundtrack in search of a movie, though Daniel Lopatin’s propulsive electronic score displays an excellence and precision that most decidedly does not come through in cinematographer Sean Price Williams’ beyond-extensive use of closeups. Star Robert Pattinson can act, and he’s not hard to look at. But to justify the amount of acreage his face occupies for what seems like half the film, his young mug would have to <em>fascinate</em>, to serve as a clear expression of the complicated machinations below its surface. It doesn’t, and with good reason: it wouldn’t make sense for the part. Pattinson’s desperate character is, more than anything else, an animal operating on instinct: avoid capture, protect the pack (in this case, a mentally challenged brother who just wants to be able to “do what I want when I want.”). And while his instincts are sharp, he’s not so great at thinking things through. It could be argued that the film’s whole point is the stupidity of youth, the belief that the old have nothing to offer but restriction, frustration, and in a pinch, material support. If that’s the case, then it’s an honest portrait, if an unattractive one. And co-directors Bennie and Josh Safdie excel at catching the feel of those who really are living on the edge: struggling immigrants, hopeless ex-cons, and the tortured souls who cannot build a life with their pieces of the broken world. Maybe it’s not their fault that this dark joyride offers neither an ordered route nor a satisfying destination.

Find showtimes

That’s not altogether fair, but it is understandable: Daniel Lopatin’s propulsive electronic throb and thrum display an excellence and precision that most decidedly do not come through in cinematographer Sean Price Williams’s beyond-extensive use of closeups. (And since the directors tend to call the shots about when it comes to camera placement…) Pattinson can act, even if he often seems just a touch removed and remote, and he’s not hard to look at. But to justify the amount of acreage his face occupies for what seems like half the film, his young mug would have to fascinate, to serve as a clear expression of the complicated machinations below its surface.

It doesn’t, and with good reason: it wouldn’t make sense for the part. Pattinson’s desperate character is, more than anything else, an animal operating on instinct: avoid capture, protect the pack (in this case, a mentally challenged brother who just wants to be able to “do what I want when I want”). And while his instincts are sharp, he’s not so great at thinking things through. Again and again, his plans go sideways, from a bank robbery to a daring rescue to an illicit attempt at fundraising. It could be argued that the film’s whole point is the stupidity of youth, the belief that the old have nothing to offer but restriction, frustration, and, in a pinch, material support. As Pattinson puts it to his brother: “Fuck Grandma! It’s just you and me!”

If that’s the case, then it’s an honest portrait, if an unattractive one. And the Safdies excel at catching the feel of those who really are living on the edge: struggling immigrants, hopeless ex-cons, and the tortured souls who cannot build a life with their pieces of the broken world. Maybe it’s not their fault that this dark joyride offers neither an ordered route nor a satisfying destination.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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