It is certainly a good time to be Robert Pattinson. It’s hard to think of another young actor who has moved so far – and so fast – away from the long shadow cast by his breakthrough role. By now, Pattinson is a long way from Twilight’s Edward Cullen. There have been two fruitful collaborations with David Cronenberg – Cosmopolis and Maps To The Stars – and more recently he was good in enterprising supporting roles in Brady Corbet’s The Childhood Of A Leader and James Gray’s The Lost City Of Z (where he was almost unrecognizable beneath a Garth Hudson-style beard). There is also High Life, for Claire Denis, to come.
For Good Time, Pattinson has hooked up with Josh and Bennie Safdie, brothers who have spent a decade making scrappy, low-budget movies on the streets of New York; freewheeling, urban stories, in other words, that hark back to an earlier era of filmmaking. A good primer to the Safdie’s work is 2009’s Daddy Longlegs, a semi-autobiographical piece about a manic father and his relationship with his two children. In Good Time, Pattinson plays Constantine “Connie” Nikas, a bright, resourceful petty crook who falls into a night-long churn of violence and exploitation, redeemed only by the unshakeable love he holds for his brother, Nick (Benny Safdie).
The Safdies shoot in tight close ups or restless tracking shots that weave round or occasionally lurch towards their protagonists. A heist goes wrong, a breakout is spectacularly botched and Connie finds himself hunting round a theme park in the dead of night for a valuable bottle of liquid LSD in the company of Ray (Buddy Duress), another nocturnal chancer. Jennifer Jason Leigh co stars, drawing the film back to Last Exit To Brooklyn or Rush; other films about lost souls out on the fringes.
“Every day I think about untwisting and untangling the strings I’m in,” intones Iggy Pop on the closing song, “The Pure And The Damned”. “To lead a pure life, and look ahead in a clear sky. I ain’t gonna get there but it’s a nice dream.”
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The December 2017 issue of Uncut is now on sale in the UK – with Robert Plant on the cover. Plant and his band have also compiled our free CD, which includes tracks by Bert Jansch, Daniel Lanois, Patty Griffin, Thee Oh Sees and more. Elsewhere in the issue, we remember Tom Petty and there are new interviews with REM, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Bootsy Collins, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard and Ronnie Spector. We review Morrissey, Sharon Jones, Mavis Staples, Hüsker Dü, Tim Buckley and Talk Talk and much more.