By Megan Bianco
A decade ago, I never would have guessed or predicted that my favorite male actor of 2017 would be Robert Pattinson. Nothing against the man, but when you’re 19 like I was in 2008, and the first Twilight movie was released, nothing about that franchise could be taken seriously. Especially the poor actors who became the butt of so many jokes, and not just because of Stephanie Meyer’s hammy writing. Even Anna Kendrick, who would have both Tony and Oscar nominations by the time the film series ended, was tainted by the vampire films. With Kristen Stewart, it actually didn’t take long for me to accept her as a respected actress as an adult because she had already gotten some cred as a child star with Panic Room (2002) and Speak (2004).
But with Pattinson, all I associated him with for ten years was sparkly vampire powers and being Harry Potter’s friend in two of the wizard’s movies. Yet he’s finally found his footing with The Lost City of Z last April and now Good Time. The first was a solid jungle biopic with Pattinson as a borderline alcoholic intellectual; the second has him as a wanted criminal on the run for a 24 hour period. Good Time is directed by brothers Josh and Ben Safdie, and Ben casts himself as Pattinson’s disabled brother on screen as well. The film follows Pattinson’s Connie Nikas who has to bail his brother Nick of jail after they perform a botched bank robbery attempt. He bumps into every obstacle imaginable along the way, including his 50-year-old girlfriend Corey (Jennifer Jason Leigh) and a 16-year-old named Crystal (Taliah Lennice Webster) as an impromptu aid.
With some quick and rabid editing and an addictive, electronic music score by Oneohtrix Point Never, the Safdie brothers are the latest to break through in independent cinema with a bang and a signature. Pattinson isn’t exactly a box-office draw after the underwhelming and polarizing Cosmopolis (2012) and Maps to the Stars (2014)—both from David Cronenberg—and gruesome The Rover (2014). But he is unexpectedly the perfect choice to escape into the anti-hero of a rather intimate, small budget caper flick. He can carry his own and lead a whole cast of primarily unknowns, and is so dedicated to this greasy, crooked New Yorker that it makes me believe he really is a normal, decent Brit in real life. But his presence isn’t distracting like it would be with someone like Chris Pine or Chris Evans, or even his own previous teeny bopper image. Ben Safdie and he are believable as brothers, and Pattinson has a lot of chemistry with Webster (making her own film debut).
Even if Good Time loses momentum awards wise by the end of the year, it will at least stand out as a fine example of Pattinson’s range.
Megan Bianco is a Southern California-based movie reviewer and content writer with a degree from California State University Northridge.
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