A vibrant, intoxicating descent into a chaotic and depraved adventure, Ben & Josh Safdie's Good Time is in essence a twisted amusement park ride, a film which documents one night in the life of Constantine "Connie" Nikas, an increasingly desperate and dangerous man, who perilously attempts to get his younger mentally-handicapped brother, Nick, out of jail. Never particularly interested in the conventional side of society , the Safdie brothers have always been filmmakers who've been drawn to the downtrodden or fringe members of society, detailing characters' who've effectively been forgotten or overlooked in the day-to-day of modern civilization. one's who've been hardened or worse, effectively destroyed, by the cold, harsh environment in which they inhabit. With Good Time, the Sardennes brothers document Constantine "Connie' Nikas, a two-bit bank robber who must attempt to clean up his own mess caused by a botched bank robbery that left his young brother incarcerated. He is a deceitful character, a man who will lie through his teeth to those who confide in him, a man who seemingly has a long history of looking out for me, myself, and I first and foremost, which in this case has left his mentally handicapped brother incarcerated at Riker's Island. While one could certainly project some socio-politlcal assertions onto Good Time, the film doesn't feel wholly interested in any such commentary, being a film far more built around delivering a fast-paced, intoxicating journey of escalation, one where the whole narrative feels completely organic, unhinged, and unpredictable. While Good Time feels slightly more polished than the Safdie brother's earlier work, the film still delivers the same down & dirty style, with the filmmakers relying heavily on handheld photography to create a tight, claustrophobic, yet chaotic experience, one that evokes the depraved, increasing desperation of our main protagonist. The Safdie brother's use of sound design in particular stands out, with Good Time featuring an electric soundtrack, one that effectively builds and maintains the tense mood and visceral atmosphere from start to finish. Featuring Robert Patterson in perhaps his best performance yet, Good Time documents a character as he ping pongs from location-to-location, with things seemingly only getting more and more complex as he goes, in a race against time when it comes to saving his brother from a place he himself is responsible for placing himself in. Far from a sympathetic character, Constantine is a lightning rod for the viewer, a character whose actions and circumstances are unpredictable, often vile, yet intoxicating to the viewer, taking the audience on a depraved ride from start to finish. There is no master plan, no grand scheme, as Constantine is a reactionary character, a increasingly desperate man whose path to his brother feels insurmountable and increasingly complicated, leading to a finale that feels almost inevitable. Visceral, intoxicating, and alive, the Safdie Brother's Good Time is a tense and engaging thriller, documenting the exploits of an anti-hero who desperately tries to save his brother from a fate he himself placed him in.
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