Can Good Time have same impact as Goodfellas?
In the same week as Warner Bros releases its doomed blockbuster Justice League, the Safdie Brothers dare to try new things.
If you’re planning on catching a movie this week, and are bored with blockbusters and never-ending franchises, Good Time is the film for you.
Electric, violent and often moving, the Safdie Brothers’ new crime drama stands out from its peers with a refreshing take on New York’s criminal underworld.
Sky News met up with Josh Safdie, one of the directors, who joked that “as far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a gangster”.
The line is directly from one of Martin Scorsese’s greatest hits, Goodfellas, a film which broke new ground when it came out 27 years ago, giving birth to a new breed of gangster drama: slicker, more real and more violent.
In its own way, Good Time has done the same.
“It’s difficult to get things to cut through all the noise,” Robert Pattinson, who plays the main character, told Sky News, explaining his decision to jump in on a project from two unknown filmmakers.
“And it’s difficult to make new things which are a little bit frightening and a little bit dangerous,” he said.
“And I’m definitely kind of attracted to that.”
In the film, Pattinson plays common criminal Connie Nikas, whose developmentally disabled brother Nick was arrested during a bank heist Connie planned.
Nick is played by one of the directors, Benny Safdie, who delivers the character with such power that you spend the whole film wondering whether or not he is faking it.
“You know, my brother is not developmentally disabled, in reality,” Josh Safdie reminded us.
Josh said the two siblings drew on their own experiences to write, direct and supervise the music that accompanies the film at all times.
“One of my best friends as a kid, as an eight year old, was this guy Delan, and we got into such insane criminal adventures together,” Josh recalled.
“I remember he took on this graffiti tag and he just copied this graffiti tag we saw around Queens and then the real guy was like: ‘He’s nine?'”
“He found our school and he completely bombed the whole back of it and said: ‘I know where you live, I’m gonna kill you, little kid.'”
Josh said their attraction to the underworld “continued on to this day”.
“I don’t know, it’s just an attraction to a certain type of person – a certain way of kind of living a life on your own way, at your own speed, and that could be someone who is at the bottom of the social economic scale but also people who are at the top,” he said.
“And I think filmmaking is that on a large scale. As in: ‘We’re gonna create our own reality and screw you if you want to stop us.'”
The film opened to rave reviews, and was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year.
It is bold storytelling, which doesn’t seem worried about pleasing or entertaining its viewer – but rather shocking and keeping us on the edge of our seats.
At a point, Pattinson’s character is close to having sex with an underage girl – something which is portrayed naturally and briefly.
“There are certain things you can do in a movie and when the movie’s released you kind of have to stand by it, you can’t go: ‘I was just playing the character’, you know?” he told us.
“And I like that [the movie] is really pushing the line of acceptability.”
Asked about his performance being praised as a “career best” for him, Pattinson laughed it off: “You hopefully try and get better every time you do something.
“It would be bad if you got worse.”
Good Time opens in UK cinemas on 17 November.