The new crime film Good Time aspires to be a throwback to the gritty genre films of the 70s, but it doesn’t quite pull it off.
Directed by Benny and Josh Safdie, the movies tells the story of Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson), a small-time crook who robs a bank with his mentally disabled brother (Benny Safdie). Things immediately go wrong and Safdie is arrested. Knowing that his brother won’t last long in prison, Pattinson begins a desperate quest to set him free.
Pattinson does fine work in the lead, but the story is undercut by the simple fact that there was no need for Pattinson to bring Safdie along for the robbery in the first place. An audience might sympathize with a man resorting to crime to care for his disabled brother, but when he brings that brother on a robbery and gets him arrested and endangers his life, it’s hard to muster much sympathy.
Movies about low-level crooks behaving in increasingly stupid ways can be entertaining (Fargo, The Friends of Eddie Coyle), but a strong plot is needed. Good Time has one decent plot twist around the halfway point, but the central storyline isn’t propulsive enough to compensate for the fact that it’s hard to care about Pattinson’s character.