It has been a while since we last heard from Robert Pattinson. Since starring in Twilight, his vampire blockbuster, the 25-year-old British actor has been fairly quiet. He did make an appearance in the comedy Central Station last year, and has now returned with a vengeance in the new Robert Pattinson movie, Good Time. Based on the 1970s television show of the same name, the film follows two British robbers who hatch an elaborate plan to escape the country after breaking out of prison.
The plan goes according to plan, and the duo soon finds themselves on the run from the law. They initially take refuge in a secluded farmhouse, where the two hatch an unlikely friendship. While on the run, the two become even more convinced of the existence of conspiracies and secret deals. They are accompanied on their escapades by a police officer (Steve Buscemi), who the pair nicknames ‘Cop’; a journalist (Katherine Parkinson), whom they dub ‘Kathleen’; and a photographer (Pierce Brosnan), who snaps the eye of a wealthy industrialist (Albert Finney). But is being on the run really enough for these modern-day Bonnie and Clyde? Can two criminals really change their ways, and live a life of crime no more?
And what of the supporting cast? As with any ensemble cast, some characters are more memorable than others. Brosnan’s character, the photographer, is a caricature of a bygone era. But despite his over-the-top antics, Pierce Brosnan still manages to inject some much-needed levity into the proceedings. The performances of Albert Finney and Steve Buscemi are also worth seeing. Finney, especially, delivers an authentic, American accent that will have even the most ardent Americans humming the theme song from Good Time. And let’s not forget about the giant penis that one of the characters is kind enough to show us.
It’s a Likable Plot
It is often said that a good story, with likable characters, is one of the best ways to hook an audience. Good Time delivers on this front, too. The screenplay, by Richard Wenzel, is filled with colorful, lively characters, who are all memorable and easily likeable. It should come as no surprise, then, that the film currently has a rating of 79% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The main villains, played by Joe Arbuckle and Ian McShane, are two-dimensional in nature, but their menace is all the more effective for it. McShane, in particular, is terrifying as the crooked cop who is hot on their trail. For those who have seen both men work together in the past, the casting is seamless.
Set in the 70s, the film opens with a montage of scenes from the series. The series was inspired by Ross Hunter’s childhood in California’s Central Valley, a sprawling area that stretches from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin. The valley is famous for its rich agricultural bounty, and much of the film was, thus, shot on location in California’s wine country. Most notably, the Hollywood sign can be seen in the opening credits.
The Central Valley is a bucolic place, where one can still feel the warm rays of the California sun on their back. In the valley, the air is sweet and rich, and the soil is fertile. But the allure of the valley is not just about the scenic beauty. It is about the culture shock that one feels after moving from the concrete jungle of Los Angeles. The valley is filled with unexpected surprises, such as winding roadways, old railroad tracks, and vineyards. This is an area that loves its wine, and one soon discovers that it has quite the selection of wineries to offer.
The city that Hunter calls home now is, in many ways, a reflection of the Hollywood that inspired it. Expensive cars and beautiful women are still prevalent, but there is also a strong emphasis on family. Being a successful screenwriter is a way for Hunter to give back to the community that helped make his career possible. The opening credits even roll over a dedication to his fans, expressing his undying gratitude for their support.
Creative Use of Colours
One thing that immediately jumps out at you about Good Time is its creative use of colors. The opening credits are filled with vivid hues, while various shots of the valley are also framed by lush greens; the closer the viewer gets to the Earth, the more prominent the green tint grows. This is a clever use of color that draws the eye to the screen while also making it more interesting to look at. It is rare to see such a creative use of color in a thriller, and it certainly does not hurt that the filmmakers knew how important a good picture was to the overall story. They wanted to make sure that the audience understood everything that was going on, even at the expense of a little artistic license.
A Retro Appeal
The look of the film is also vintage. While the majority of the film was shot with a digital camera, a large portion of the final cut was finished with vintage 35mm film. It has been almost 40 years since the last installment of the series was released, and the producers wisely decided to give the film a retro appeal. The retro appeal is not just limited to the look of the movie; it extends to the dialogue and the way the characters behave. The result is a movie that evokes the heyday of classic noir films, when directors, cinematographers, and editors worked together to bring a movie’s unique vision to life on the big screen.
It is a testament to Richard Wenzel’s screenplay that Good Time holds up so well after so many years. The story still holds up, and it is filled with plenty of cinematic twists and turns. It is still, to this day, one of the better scripts that have come out of the Twilight Saga. Wenzel, whose previous writing credits include The Dark Knight and The Avengers, seamlessly weaves a tale of modern-day crime with vintage noir elements. One could even argue that Good Time is richer, and more interesting, than its prequel, Twilight. The only downside is that it is not entirely original. Once you know the drill, it is not hard to predict the film’s twists and turns. It is a shame that the film’s producers did not feel the need to reinvent the wheel, since there is a wealth of material to be found in the source material. If anything, that only makes this newer version of Good Time more interesting to watch.