Much has been written about Robert Pattinson’s transition from YA heart-throb in the Harry Potter and Twilight franchises to indie arthouse darling and finally emerging as the defender of Gotham in Matt Reeves’ The Batman.
Even while still in his Twilight years, Pattinson attempted to break-out into other romantic roles. It could be argued that he’s never topped the jaw-on-the-floor ending of 2010’s Remember Me. He played Reese Witherspoon’s younger lover in Water for Elephants in 2011. He then levelled up to playing the younger lover of Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci the following year, in Bel Ami.
Pattinson’s first real declaration that he was more than the “sparkly vampire” came with his two collaborations with David Cronenberg – Cosmopolis (2012) and Map to the Stars (2014). But it was in 2017 that Pattinson claimed what is arguably his best role to date – in the Safdie brothers’ Good Time. Good Time was far from the Safdies’ debut film, but it was certainly their break-through movie, bringing them critical acclaim and wider attention.
Good Time is a crime thriller set in New York that follows Connie (Pattinson) and his desperate attempts to save his brother Nick (Benny Safdie), who has learning difficulties, from jail. It’s known for being shot on-location using 35mm (and a guerilla-style of filmmaking), and for its frenetic editing. The Safdies pushed the limits of film-making by under-lighting shots, and relying on the street lighting and neon of the city. It’s a gritty, grainy, grimy film – full of a propulsive energy.
Connie being on-the-run in New York, frantically trying to get from one location to another as quickly as possible mirrored the conditions of making the film. Shooting someone as recognisable as Robert Pattinson on the streets of New York forced the Safdies to be creative and stealthy, using hidden camera and documentary techniques. The thriller movie is all the better for it.
Benny Safdie acted in the movie, as well as co-directing and co-editing it, while Josh Safdie co-wrote and co-directed it. The critical success of A24 movie Good Time led them to cast Adam Sandler in their next project, Uncut Gems.
Released five years ago today, Good Time is still Robert Pattinson’s most impressive movie, and he totally transformed himself for the role of Connie. Find out how to watch The Batman here.