I must admit that I quite enjoy seeing a matinee idol type using his or her celebrity status to tackle unconventional projects that likely wouldn’t get financed without the star’s involvement. This is certainly the case with co-director/star Ben Safdie’s film Good Time, a movie so unconventional and downbeat that it probably would not have seen the light of day without its star, Robert Pattinson’s participation.

Pattinson, obviously quite content to put his days in the Twilight series behind him, is certainly a good choice for the material. His performance is revelatory in the pic. It is worth noting, however, that any of his legion of female admirers looking for Pattinson to turn up as another romantic lead are probably going to be shocked and more than a little taken aback at the lack of morality that his character seems to possess. He’s a narcissist of the highest order and will do anything and everything in his power to protect his own self-interests and further his own agenda. The character is certainly not the kind audiences root for but he’s definitely the kind from which good movies are made.

Pattinson stars as Constantine Nikas, a criminal thug in his early twenties, always on the look out for an opportunity to vault him to the top with little to no effort on his part. In describing his character the word opportunist readily springs to mind. Especially evidenced in both a scene where he feigns affection for a sixteen year old girl in an effort to avoid having his identity discovered and another where he attempts to get his current girlfriend (the always reliable Jennifer Jason Leigh, in an all too brief appearance) to loan him a large sum of money that she likely will never see repaid.

The film’s plot hinges on Constantine’s mentally challenged brother (the film’s co-director, Ben Safdie), whom Constantine regularly uses in his criminal shenanigans. Unfortunately, Constantine’s brother accidentally gets himself caught and arrested, leaving Constantine with the challenge of having to break his brother out of prison. This leads to one distressing misstep after another as Constantine spirals out of control. The film’s final half-hour, in particular, is very intense stuff.

Good Time is the kind of kinetically made crime film that I enjoy seeing. Taking it in was a breath of fresh air and while the ending feels a little too pat, there’s still much to recommend. Pattinson’s scenery chewing is only one of the joys to be found when experiencing this Good Time.

Good Time is playing in Charlotte as of FOCUS’ press time.  Check online for tickets.

Photo:Robert Pattinson in Good Time

Questions or comments? Write Adam at [email protected].