Review by Michael D Hollick
The second offering from the 2017-18 Lotterywest Film Festival at UWA Somerville is Good Time, a heist film with an emotional pulse. Despite the innocuous name, the film steers clear of ‘feelgood’ territory, as directors the Safdie Brothers lead the audience on a desperate chase for freedom against the backdrop of gritty New York.
Connie (Robert Pattinson) is stellar in the lead role, giving a Pacino-circa-Dog-Day-Afternoon-like performance, as he goes to extremes to prevent his mentally challenged brother, Nick (Ben Safdie) from ending up in Rikers Island. As the dedication of sibling love is stretched, Connie’s desperation increases and his actions became more rash.
This spiral into despair, and the characters’ anxieties, are enhanced by the camerawork which stays consistently close to its subjects. This proximity enhances a pervading sense of dread as fear creeps in with each new fold of the narrative; this fear inhabits the film’s characters and spills over to the audience.
The closeness also adds a sense of disorientation, as the cameras move and bump along with the restless characters. As they enter new environs, their new surrounds remain unexplored, adding to the urgency and a loss of control that Connie and those that he encounters experience.
The pulsating, spine-tingling soundtrack, provided by Oneohtrix Point Never, deservedly took out the Soundtrack Award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Oneohtrix’s eerie, menacing, and layered keyboards are an equal match for the drama and tension. The collaboration with Iggy Pop is a synergy of alienation and punk rock reflecting the dark alleys and city streets of the movie.
Good Time is a remarkable work of art that demands one’s entire attention; it cannot be watched or understood in a light manner, but is not to be missed.
MICHAEL D HOLLICK
Good Time runs at UWA Somerville until 10 Dec and at ECU Joondalup Pines from 12 – 17 Dec. For tickets and more information, visit the Perth Festival website here.