(US/Luxembourg - 2017)
Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie. Written by Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein. Cast: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Benny Safdie, Barkhad Abdi, Buddy Duress, Taliah Webster, Peter Verby, Necro, Rose Gregorio, Gladys Mathon, Saida Mansoor, Eric Paykert, Robert Clohessy, George Lee Miles. (R, 101 mins)
In the tradition of SPRING BREAKERS, THE ROVER, THE WITCH, IT COMES AT NIGHT, and A GHOST STORY, GOOD TIME is another love-it-or-hate-it A24 pickup that gets great reviews from critics but a toxic reception in wide release and almost immediately becomes a revered cult movie. A Palme d'Or contender at Cannes and the most high-profile film to date from sibling indie auteurs Josh and Benny Safdie, who earned significant acclaim for their 2014 heroin addiction drama HEAVEN KNOWS WHAT (Josh, the elder of the pair, got some indie buzz for his 2008 solo effort THE PLEASURE OF BEING ROBBED), GOOD TIME is like nothing else you've seen in multiplexes this year. It's brash, ballsy, and out of its own time, and with its grainy look and a supporting cast of mostly amateur actors from Queens and Flushing, it resembles a 2017 interpretation of one of those really gritty NYC films of Abel Ferrara or Paul Morrissey, while owing a debt to the "No Wave" movement of no-budget DIY movies in the early 1980s that helped establish underground filmmakers like Jim Jarmusch, Eric Mitchell, Beth B, Susan Seidelman, Slava Tsukerman, and Amos Poe. The garish Argento colorgasms in Sean Price Williams' cinematography and propulsive, non-stop Tangerine Dream-ish score by Oneohtrix Point Never (Daniel Lopatin) give it an enervating, exhilarating aura that's hypnotic and surreal, like a nightmare from which its hapless shit show of a "hero," Constantine "Connie" Nikas can't wake. As played by Robert Pattinson, whose post-TWILIGHT career choices are proof positive that he's a serious actor who's made more money than he'll ever need and is drawn to challenging projects with very little mainstream appeal, Connie is a petty criminal and a total loser who doesn't realize he's a loser. He's got big ideas and seems to pull them off but they always lead to bigger problems and end up sucking more unfortunate bystanders into his toxic orbit. Nobody has a good time in GOOD TIME, which is one of these familiar "survive the night" scenarios, but pulled off with such imaginative panache that it ends up being one of the most stylish fusions of sight and sound this side of BEYOND THE BLACK RAINBOW.