There are hundreds of heist films in cinematic history. From How to Steal A Million, to Reservoir Dogs, The Italian Job, and the aptly named film Heist.
However, Good Time, starring Robert Pattinson and directed by brothers Benny and Josh Safdie, goes far beyond the typical heist plot. After two brothers rob a bank, one of them lands in prison – leaving the other on a dark and dangerous twenty four hour odyssey through New York City’s underbelly in attempt to save his brother - and his own life.
Critics have described Good Time as a thriller, crime, drama, or suspense film. However, film contributor Dave Luhrssen says while those categories do fit, the film reminds him more of a noir or the gritty early 70s New York crime movies starring Al PAcino and Robert DiNiro.
"People of that ilk and that era doing these really desperate kind of people in desperate kind of situations in an unforgiving big city. And much of it takes place at night which sort of enhances the darkness of all of it," says Luhrssen.
Like many of those early crime movies, Good Time follows Pattinson's criminal protagonist through a hectic and dangerous twenty-four hours that only keeps escalating. Luhrssen says that Pattinson's great performance will certainly help him get away from his type cast characters of Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter or Edward from his Twilight fame.
"The Pattinson character is a very cunning and shrewd operator on one level, but he's completely lost in terms of dealing with the wider world around him," notes Luhrssen. "He's great at improvising solutions to immediate problems, but he doesn't have a big picture."
While the protagonist is a criminal, his primary motivation is helping his mentally disabled brother - fighting at every moment with a fierce loyalty.
"He does love his brother and is willing to actually put himself at some risk to, in his mind, rescue him," Luhrssen explains. "But what about all the other stuff he does? It doesn't really counteract or ameliorate the harm that this person is doing elsewhere in society."
Luhrssen notes that the brotherhood theme was aptly well directed by the direction brother duo Benny and Josh Safdie. This film also marks the first major marketed production by the Safdie brothers, who have not shied away from making a film that raises social problems such as how our society treats the mentally ill, drug addiction, and the prison system.
"The movie raises all of these questions about the world we live in where there are no easy apparent answers to the problems facing us," says Luhrssen. "It's not a Hollywood action drama by any means, or crime drama. It is going a lot deeper and looking at characters who I believe would exist in real life from a perspective that a typical Hollywood movie...would never think about looking at in that kind of way."