I also watched Good Time this weekend, as the other piece of my High Life homework. Director, actor—and Good Time is 100 percent the kind of movie you watch for an actor. With all respect to the Safdie Brothers, who have made a fine movie here, and making a movie this good is hard, but you watch Good Time because someone tells you that Robert Pattinson is really good in it. Such as me right now: it’s true! Robert Pattinson is good enough in this that after something like a decade of obscure indie work it seemed like suddenly this one role single-handedly made him credible, even exciting. It was his Clouds of Sils Maria, and suddenly we were living in a post-Twilight era where both Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson had become, fantastically, indie darlings. Can you believe! What a world.
Robert Pattinson looks like my friend Jonathan if Jonathan were an alien. Pattinson’s face is preternaturally beautiful and weird looking and yet, wildly, it’s that specific kind of sharply cut model face that stands out everywhere except for being somehow perfectly realistic on a scroungey, squirrely, small-time criminal. They put him in a large jacket and pull a hoodie over his head and suddenly I’m just like oh yes, this is a Jawline Street Boy. I have seen this type of boy. So that was good casting at the jump, and then he just really sells it.
The story is a basic petty crime & family number, nothing groundbreaking there, save that the brother who landed in jail after their bank robbery went bust is mentally disabled, and that provides some interesting framing to Connie’s gnawing, hyper-focused responsibility to get the bail money together and get his brother out of lock-up. I think the whole downhill tumble of action all takes place in about 24 hours, but somehow that doesn’t seem as important to the movie as it does to something like Support the Girls, which by the clock doesn’t actually even all take place in one day, yet in spirit still does more than this one. But that’s because Support the Girls is a slice of life, while Good Time has a very clear outcome-oriented plot and is all driving action toward that end, despite all the twists and turns that befall our down-and-out Sisyphus as he keeps trying to achieve his goal.
Anyway, was Good Time as good as Beau Travail? Hah don’t be silly. But it wasn’t work to get through.