Amongst all the praise currently and deservedly getting heaped upon it, Good Time is especially being hailed as the final stage of redemption for Robert “Sparkling Guy from Twilight” Pattinson.
In discussing why they had eyes for the former heartthrob, directors the Safdie Brothers mentioned the way Pattison, as arguably once one of the most recognizable faces in the world, struggles to move freely in public. The countenance of a star trying to stay conspicuous in a world trained to see them looks an awful lot like a criminal trying to lay low, hunchedly trying not draw attention to themselves. Of course, there’s something about trying not to be noticed that makes a person especially noticeable.
After he outruns his brother in a post-robbery police chase, Pattinson's Connie Nikas spends the night doing whatever he can to spring the apprehended Nick. Good Time is an unceasing, neon-soaked, up-all-night-in-New-York, gritty and grimy noir throwback that spins and just keeps spinning around the hub of Connie’s devotion to his brother. Connie's monomaniacal, loving energy is the film's energy. Connie can't and won't give up and neither can Good Time.
Throughout Good Time, it's easy to forget that Connie is not a good guy. The film is refreshingly skimpy with backstory, so we don't know the nature and depth of the Nikas Brothers' perfidy, but with the bewildered, bug-eyed look of a living mug shot, Connie's physicality alone announces criminality. Whether he’s sneaking into a Dominos bathroom to wash off the paint from an exploded dye pack or hunching through the corridors of a hospital, he’s about as subtle as a fart in church. And yet we, the audience, root for him. The passion and gallantry of his quest serve to make us forget the animating circumstances of it.
With a charm that’s always teetering on smarm, we get just as conned by Connie as those Good Samaritans he exploits during his flailing, bumbling attempt to help his brother. And here's where Pattinson excels and earns every drop of praise he's getting. He's gross and unredeemable, but he's also ensorcelling. He shouldn't be, but he is. He has to be.
Going at the clip it does, Good Time relies as heavily as Connie does on the kindness of strangers. The story doesn't happen without assistance from standers-by. Whether he's getting intel from an orderly, a ride from a shuttle driver, or the use of a stranger's phone, Connie's constantly preying on the benefit of people's doubt, just as the film needs its audience to open up to and care about this sputtering, conniving weirdo. Just to look at him, you wouldn't give this guy the time of day let alone your cellphone. But somehow, as the rave reviews confirm, you have a hard time not giving two hours of your sympathy to this grinning scumbag.