Good Time Dir: Ben & Josh Safdie


Electric New York filmmakers the Safdie brothers rob us blind with this heist movie gone wrong, thanks to an illicitly good performance from Robert Pattinson.

After their botched bank robbery quick-thinking criminal Connie Nikas spends a desperate night trying to get his mentally challenged brother out of jail.

I love a good heist movie, the recently released Baby Driver was an absolute belter, meticulously crafted by Edgar Wright. While it might look hand held and improvised the Safdie brothers, Benny and Josh (Heaven Can Wait), have created something just as honed and kinetic.

The sprawling narrative had me hooked. Josh wrote it with long-time brother-in-arms Ronald Bronstein, and like a dog unleashed it runs to its own heart pounding beat, twisting and turning as the night grows more frenzied for Connie.

In one of his best roles yet, Pattinson continues to put his pin-up glitter-vampire days to rest by picking challenging roles and maverick directors. He’s paired with the likes of Cronenberg and Herzog, and starred in The Rover and 2017 NZIFF alum The Lost City of Z.

Here under the tutelage of the guerrilla filmmakers he seemingly learns on the go, and you can’t help but root for him as he improvises from one clusterfuck to another. Co-director Benny plays brother Nick, and that’s a heart wrenching watch itself.

As Connie runs rampant over the poorer boroughs of NY, the likes of Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) Buddy Duress (Heaven Can Wait) and welcome newcomer Taliah Webster are dragged into his destructive orbit.

You can tell early Scorsese is an influence, and there are shades of Nicolas Winding Rfen’s Drive with the neon looks, but it’s its own chaotic beast, with the Safdie’s wild hand-held vision pushing this crime thriller at a frenetic pace.

The hypnotic 80’s score from Oneohtrix Point Never, aka Daniel Lopatin, won the Soundtrack Award at Cannes, and no wonder as at includes a goddamn eerie and powerful closing co-lab with Iggy Pop titled The Pure and the Damned.

This Palme d’Or nominated adrenaline rush is intense fun. As the suspenseful night stumbles on and things get more dangerous and desperate, you just have to hold onto Pattinson’s caged-animal and not let go.

Clayton Barnett (

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