• Angela H.

Good Time (2017) | Discussion, Recommendations & Spoilers | Film Review



Good Time (2017) is an American crime-thriller film written by Josh Safdie and Ronald Bronstein and directed by Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie. The film stars Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, Buddy Duress, Tailah Lennice Webster and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Good Time (2017) was released in the United States on August 11, 2017 and distributed by A24.


As of April 11, 2022, the film is currently streaming on Hulu, Fubo, Showtime, kanopy, DIRECTV, and Spectrum On Demand. It is available for rent or purchase on Amazon Prime, Redbox, Vudu, Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube, Microsoft Store and DIRECTV.


In the beginning of the film, we are introduced to Nick Nikas (Benny Safdie), a mentally handicapped man who is at a court-ordered therapy appointment. The therapist (Peter Verby) is working with Nick to find out how much he understands about word associations and his own emotions. As he delves more into the incident that landed Nick in court (he got into a fight with his grandmother and it turned violent on both sides), the door opens and we are introduced to Nick's brother, Connie (Robert Pattinson).


Connie is appalled to see Nick at the appointment and tells the therapist that they are leaving. The therapist tells Connie that he is being inappropriate and interruptive, but Connie ignores the therapist and leads Nick out of the office, telling Nick that he doesn't belong there, even though he clearly does need help. We are left to wonder what Nick's home situation is like with both Connie and their grandmother.


We then see Connie and Nick at a bank, wearing masks and several layers of clothing, handing the teller a note telling her to give them $65,000 in cash. The teller gives them the money from her till and writes on the note that she cannot give them more. They write back, telling her to get the money. She leaves her register and goes in the back with their bag, coming back after a few moments.



The two collect the money, leave the bank and walk rapidly to an alley, where they discard their masks and clothing, then leave to find their getaway car. The man driving the car is nowhere to be seen, so they walk around for a bit to try to find him. They eventually find him and get in the car, only to hear a weird noise coming from the bag. We find the teller placed booby-trapped money in the bag that was rigged with an explosive dye pack. The car fills with red dye and the driver crashes the car, leaving everyone covered from head to toe in red dye.


Connie pulls Nick out of the car and they run into a local Domino's Pizza bathroom. The employees bang on the door, alarmed by the two running into the restaurant. Nick and Connie desperately try to remove the dye from their faces before the employees call the police on them. Connie hides the backpack of money in ceiling and we are left to conclude he will return for the money later.


They leave the bathroom, but the police have already been called presumably by the bank and are looking for them. They police eventually catch up to them and Nick panics and runs, leaving Connie to chase after him. The brothers become separated and while Connie gets away, Nick is arrested and sent to jail.


The rest of the film follows Connie as he tries to evade the police and find the money to get Nick out on bail.


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Discussion:


*Discussion contains spoilers


After Nick is arrested, Connie goes back to the Domino's and retrieves the backpack. He then goes to a bail bond business and tries to use the dye-stained money to bail Nick out. The bail bondsman tells Connie that he can use some of the money, but most of it is ruined, making it unusable to him. He tells Connie that he needs $10,000 more to get Nick out.


Meanwhile, Nick is having a bad time in jail. He hasn't learned any skills to manage his anger, so when he gets in an argument with another inmate, it immediately becomes violent and Nick is sent to the hospital.


Once Connie discovers he still owes the bondsman $10,000, he visits his girlfriend Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to try to get her to pay for the rest of the bond. Corey is initially happy to see Connie and thinks he is just coming to visit her because he cares for her, but apparently Corey (who is becoming increasingly volatile and unstable as we learn more about her), doesn't understand that Connie is basically a man who will manipulate anyone to get what he wants. He is very charming and charismatic, so it's easy to fall for his schtick, but eventually everyone finds out who he really is in the end, once he's done using them for whatever he needs.


Connie asks Corey to come with him to the bail bond business, telling her that he only needs a few thousand dollars. However, when the bail bondsman tells Corey it will be $10,000, she weakly contests the amount, asking Connie why he told her it was only a couple of thousand. He manipulates her, telling her to use her mother's credit cards and that she will get the money right back, so her mother won't notice the charge.


However, when the bondsman's associate tries to charge the credit card, she finds that it has been declined. When Corey calls her mother, trying to figure out what is going on, her mother seemingly tells her she has canceled Corey's cards. Corey becomes irate and starts screaming at her mother. The bail bondsman tells Connie that Nick does not even apply for bond release currently because he has been hospitalized and Connie learns the name of the hospital. Connie, seeing that his avenue for getting Nick out has been thwarted, leaves the bail bond business without telling Corey.



Connie then heads to the hospital Nick is being held at and we understand that he means to break him out, no matter how badly he is injured. (This guy is brother of the year. I mean, he should definitely get an award or something.) Well, that will allow Connie to escape the $10,000 bail bond and prevent Corey from getting duped; we all know Connie wasn't going to return Nick in time for the hearing/trial.


Connie figures out what floor Nick is being held at, again by manipulating several people. He finds Nick unconscious in his room and sees that he is handcuffed. He kicks the side of the bed off and pulls Nick out of bed and into a wheelchair. Nick's head and face are heavily bandaged and he does not wake up as Connie wheels him out of the hospital and into the frigid night air.


Connie, trying to figure out where to take Nick, sees a bus used by the hospital to drop off patients at their homes. Connie manipulates his way onto the bus and when the bus driver tells him the hospital didn't tell him about any other stops besides the passengers that had already been dropped off, Connie tells the driver that the hospital screwed up and they live close to where the last patient was dropped off.


The driver agrees that the hospital has had miscommunication issues in the past and drops Connie and Nick off. Connie wheels Nick back to the patient's house that the driver had dropped off before them and knocks on the door. We soon discover why; Connie wants to manipulate the kind strangers into letting him use their house as a hideout until they can find another place to hide.


He tells the people that he is locked out of his house and his mom isn't coming home for seven hours and he doesn't want to leave his brother out in the cold. The kind strangers acquiesce, but are wary of his story. Connie quickly makes himself at home, using their phone, eating their food and coming on to their 16-year-old daughter. After calling Corey and trying to manipulate her into taking Nick in, he is interrupted by Nick yelling. Connie soon discovers that Nick is not Nick. He has kidnapped someone else from the hospital, a criminal out on parole named Ray (Buddy Duress).


After Connie calms Ray down by jumping on him and threatening to kill him, Ray begins to tell Connie how he came to be in the hospital. It turns out Ray recently got out on parole and went on a LSD and wildy-humping-a-girl-on-a-bed-in-front-of-his-friends binge, went a little crazy because of the acid trip, ran from the cops, hid a backpack of money and a 20-ounce Sprite bottle full of LSD at Adventureland, jumped out of a moving taxi face-first, then was apprehended and sent to the hospital. I've never had a day like that, so I feel for Ray.



After hearing this story, Connie decides it's a good idea to be friends with Ray, at least for a little while. He tells Ray they are going to Adventureland to get the Sprite bottle and backpack full of money. Hey, why not? I mean, you are already in a world of shit, Connie, why not take a severely injured man who you just kidnapped (who is also a convicted criminal) out to do some more crime? I like Connie's style, he's like a honey badger, he does not give a fuck.


Seeing as Ray can't walk to Adventureland in the freezing cold and Connie ain't springin' for no Uber or taxi, Connie asks the 16-year-old, Crystal (Tailah Lennice Webster) to help steal her grandmother's car to help them commit some more crimes. He doesn't say that exactly, but it's pretty much what he's asking her to do.


She agrees and they set off. First, they go to White Castle, because there's nothing like committing crimes at Adventureland after you eat something that's probably going to give you massive diarrhea later. They get to Adventureland and Connie tells Crystal to sit in the car until they come back. When Connie and Ray jump the fence and get inside the building where the money and drugs are, they can only find the Sprite bottle. Side note: I don't know what the hell this building is, but there are naked people painted on the wall and it seems like a very sexual, poorly decorate haunted house. I don't get it and I don't even understand what they were going for there...haunted sex dungeon? But, I digress.


As they are looking for the money and LSD, a security guard for the park shows up and tells them he's called the police and to come out. This guy has some balls. He's like, maybe 100 pounds soaking wet and he has clearly seen two kind of big guys on the security video, yet he's going to confront them? He's basically Top Flight Security of the World with his flashlight and rape whistle, what's he going to do?


Connie and Ray are found and try to fight the security guard, which I thought would be an unfair fight, but that guy is scrappy. He almost gets the best of them until Ray up and pours half the damn Sprite bottle of LSD down the guy's throat. They never show what his acid trip is like or if he, you know, fucking dies of a massive overdose, but I felt terrible for that guy. I was like, mmm mmm, not me, I'd be sitting in that security booth like, hope the cops show up before they get away. I'm not confronting two dudes with just a flashlight and rape whistle, no way.


While Connie and Ray are up to their shenanigans, Crystal is getting questioned by the cops and put in the back of a cop car because she can't explain why she is out so late by herself without giving Connie and Ray away. As she looks around in disbelief, she sees Connie standing a ways away, wearing the security guard's uniform, pretending that the security guard is the criminal and watching the cops load him up in an ambulance.



Connie is cold. So cold. That man could die of an overdose, Crystal is going to get in so much trouble with her grandmother and he doesn't seem to care at all about anyone but himself and Nick. I still liked him though. He is a very interesting and charismatic character, so I felt very engaged in the story. I kept hoping he'd turn around, that all of his narcissistic and psychopathic tendencies would resolve themselves and he'd be sorry at the end of the film, despite all the evidence to the contrary.


After the security guard is whisked off to the hospital and Crystal is whisked off to get an ass-whuppin' from her grandma (probably), Connie finds the security guard's house keys and he and Ray decide to go there. They find a nice apartment with a big ass dog inside, whom Connie manipulates by letting the dog smell the security guard's coat, so the dog would think they were safe people to be around (you couldn't be more wrong, dog).


Ray proceeds to get very drunk while Connie decides what to do next. His face is all over the news, so he has to hide until he can get Nick out. Connie decides to tell Ray that they can sell the drugs back to the guy Ray knows and get a bunch of money for it. Ray calls the guy and the guy eventually shows up. However, instead of going along with Connie's plan to give him a bunch of cash, the friend tells Ray he's going to get a gun, not cash, and he's going to kill Connie. Connie, like a rat able to sense poisoned cheese, becomes alarmed and escapes with the LSD. He almost makes it out, but Ray catches up to him and fights him. Ray almost gets the best of Connie, but the big ass dog loves Connie now and bites the shit out of Ray's ass, allowing Connie to escape.


Well, not really. Ray looks out the window and sees the Sprite bottle on the ground and also sees Connie getting arrested by the cops. Looks like Connie's ride is over. Ray decides he's not going to go the same route and comes up with a dyn-o-mite plan. He goes out the window of the high rise, presumably to get to another apartment. However, Ray is totally drunk, cannot navigate high rise ledges and immediately falls to his death. Connie watches the whole thing in disbelief as he is arrested.


Later, in the cop car, we see Connie looking shocked at finally being caught, finally grasping that his choices in life have consequences and he cannot manipulate his way out of the situation.



We then see Nick, who is out of jail and is attending classes for people with similar handicaps and that therapy has been helping him. We are told that Connie took full responsibility for the bank robbery, admitted he manipulated Nick and has finally done the right thing. We see Nick beginning to open up and thrive in the classes, finally getting the help he needs.


I really liked this movie a lot. I never knew where it was going or if Connie was going to finally do the right thing. I thought he felt bad for some things, like when Crystal got arrested and thought that he really did love his brother. I just thought that Connie was going about everything in the wrong way. Instead of getting a job and saving money, he decided to involve his mentally handicapped brother and steal the entire amount he thought he needed at once.


He let his brother get arrested, but did not turn himself in to get his brother out. Everything he did made a bigger mess until he was caught. I don't think he ever would have turned himself in, either, but I'm really glad he did the right thing in the end. It seemed like it took him losing everything to give his brother what he needed and finally understood he couldn't provide for him.


Final Thoughts:


Have you seen this film? What did you think? Did you like it? What would you improve? Please share your thoughts below!


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