good-time

‘Good Time’ Smashes Through the American Dream

Writers and directors Josh and Benny Safdie begin their new incendiary film Good Time with a dash and a jump. The dash is away from a bank, which Constantine (played by Robert Pattinson) and his neurologically disabled brother Nick (Benny Safdie) have just robbed. The jump is through a glass window and into the troubled heart of the American Dream. When Nick is caught by the police, beaten by other inmates and then brought to a hospital, Constantine resolves to get his brother out and attempt to finish what they started.

 

What Constantine and Nick dream of, more than anything, is to be away from it all, living in a cabin in the forest with little else but their own company. Even if it costs the other’s mental or spiritual health, what they want is complete freedom, to redefine society’s notions of what freedom even means. That dream meets an abrupt end when the bank robbery that opens the film goes wrong.

Sure, Constantine gets away with some of the money, but it’s coated in pink dye. When the cash is too tainted for a bail bondsman, Constantine realizes he needs more if he’s going to get his brother free. The screen glows from the neon palette, a hypnotic temptation like a mosquito trap.

Good Time is a film set at a breakneck speed, with Constantine’s attempt to free his brother from the hospital driving the film. His methodology begs the question, what will some people do for the promise of the American Dream? Both Constantine and Nick are children of Greek immigrants, living in Queens with their grandmother, who may or may not have been abusive. Their poverty is juxtaposed against the realities of those from other backgrounds: the apartment of a black family who use the white static of the television as a guiding light; the pad of a drug dealer, decked out with an enormous television and expensive bottles of alcohol; and the home of Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh), Constantine’s on-again, off-again girlfriend who seems to maintain a middle class lifestyle with her child and mother. The spectrum of what can be achieved or wrenched away from you is on display in Good Time like a panorama. At different points, Constantine takes advantage of each of these people. It’s all an attempt to get them out of the way.

To what degree Constantine’s actions are actually for the love of his brother is a question that persists across the film. He proves himself to be such a cunning manipulator, thrillingly able to make lovers and strangers believe any little lie he tells them—that he’s a good person, or that he cares about them, or that his life has been changed by their meeting.

While Constantine is willing to do terrible things to get his brother out, even worse, he’s willing to do terrible things to get money. A Sprite bottle filled with LSD becomes something to chase after and in need of a buyer. The film becomes Constantine’s race against the clock to get the wealth and total autonomy that he’s been denied. He abstracts the idea of “hard work.” At a certain point, Constantine’s games reveal that the American Dream isn’t so much a myth as a game where the players aren’t even on the same field.

Good Time is nothing if not an excoriating testament to the things people will do to capture what they thought was promised to them, no matter what parameters they have to transgress.

 

Related Articles

Film
Film

9 Insane Scenarios for the Next Fast & Furious Movie

Film
Film

Our First Look At ‘The Last Jedi’ Got Us Like…

Film
Film

Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper Side Hustle Coachella

Film
Film

No One Knows What’s Happening in ‘Free Fire’

Film
Film

This Video of Vin Diesel Voicing Groot in 5 Different Languages Is Everything

Film
Film

What to See at This Year’s Tribeca Film Festival

Ad

Latest News

moneybagg-yo-still Video

Moneybagg Yo Levels Up With “Important” Video

"Tell the label, 'Open up the budget'"
Confederate Statue News

It’s Time to Tear Down All of the Racist Statues

Baltimore is the latest city to remove its Confederate memorials
dave-east-slow-down News

Dave East Releases ‘Paranoia’ Tracklist, Unveils Nas & Chris Brown Features

The project features Chris Brown and Nas
bun-b News

Watch Bun B Keep it Trill in Trumpland

Front, back & fuck you
charlottesville-both-sides Features

Both Sides Now: Where Do We Go After Charlottesville?

Searching for common ground
Music Video

PREMIERE: Twista Turns His “Disrespectful” Video Into a Straight-Up Slasher Flick

Jason Vorhees mode
Art

Watch Pete Miser Create Paper Script Album Art

Kinfolk artist crafts his own 'Depression Era Thinking' cover
nba-2k18 News

‘NBA 2K18’ Celebrates Prodigy of Mobb Deep in New Trailer

The clip features "Shook Ones"
willie-d-geto-boys Music

How to Survive the AmeriKKKan Nightmare, A Playlist

Charlottesville is on our mind, and this is what we're listening to
nicholas-fulcher Hey, You're Cool

Hey, You’re Cool! Nicholas Fulcher

"Don't stop 'till you secure the bag"
south-park-20-years Features

Everything I Need To Know About Charlottesville I Learned on ‘South Park’

Trey Stone and Matt Parker predicted the future for the last 20 years
Daily Blunt News

LeBron James Calls Trump the “So-Called President”

The NBA star once again uses his platform to take a stand
digital-nas Music Video

PREMIERE: You Can “Hate” Digital Nas Video Now

What's in a name?
obama pretending to use a smart phone News

Barack Obama’s Charlottesville Response Becomes “Most-Liked” Tweet Ever

"Love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite"
a$ap mob walks around in their music video for "feels so good." the third single off of their upcoming cozy tapes vol. 2: too cozy project dropping at the end of august. Music Video

A$AP Mob Fights For Camera Time In “Feels So Good” Video

They debuted the track on 'The Tonight Show'
mf-doom-jay-electronica Music

MF DOOM and Jay Electronica Finally Release Their Fire Collaboration “True Light...

This is not a drill!