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The Yorker at LIFF 31: Good Time

Good Time is the latest film from Josh and Benny Safdie and it stars Robert Pattinson as Connie Nikas, a criminal on a desperate search to raise money for his brother’s bail. This adrenaline soaked thriller is the Safdie Brothers’ second film which made its debut at the Cannes film festival to huge acclaim. 

This film is a complete blast to watch. From the opening shot to the final moments, it never lets up. The Safdie brothers have a very original and exciting directorial style and it comes through brilliantly in Good Time. They utilise intense close-ups for most of the runtime and this brings an intensity and immersiveness to the film that many thrillers lack. 

The neon drenched city in the film seems to take inspiration from Michael Mann’s work such as Heat or Collateral. However, where Mann’s criminal underworld is populated with sharp suited philosophical hitmen with incredible style, Good Time portrays the grimiest, least stylish criminals imaginable. Pattinson’s Connie wears enormous oversized hoodies and has grubby hair and a patchy poorly shaved chin. He’s anything but stylish yet he seems like the type of character that will be popular in years to come – our generation’s Tyler Durden. 

Pattinson, an oft-maligned actor whose work in the Twilight franchise seemed to have tainted his career forever, is incredible here. His unchained, nervy energy pulses through the screen and he gives a revelatory performance as Connie Nikas. Almost unrecognisable, Pattinson disappears into his role and gives one of the performances of the year. This performance may be too unpleasant for Academy Award voters but he deserves all the praise he is getting and hopefully this will move his career forward in a new, interesting direction.

The soundtrack, by Daniel Lopatin (or Oneohtrix Point Never, his stage name) won the Cannes soundtrack award for good reason. This is the soundtrack to rival Blade Runner 2049‘s for sheer brilliance. The synth tracks are heart pounding and complement the pacing and performances beautifully. The music never tells you how to feel about the characters and instead augments the world in which the story takes place.

Good Time is an extremely gritty, grimy thriller with a terrific sense of style and a career best performance by Robert Pattinson. The Safdie Brothers are exciting talents and have made one of the best films screened at the Leeds Film Festival.

Next in our coverage of the LIFF 31- Dark River, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool and Brimstone and Glory.

Good Time is screened as part of LIFF 31. For tickets visit LeedsFilmCity.com. Image source: mubi.com