The newest movie from the famous “Twilight” series doesn’t quite live up to the hype. But, as is often the case with these things, the movie is more interesting for what it isn’t than for what it is.
The film follows the exploits of Nicholas Esser (Robert Pattinson), a British spy working for MI6 who is sent to Barcelona to protect the Catalan independence movement. While there, he befriends the Catalan leader, Carles (Oriol Ferrer), and tries to thwart the efforts of an arms dealer (Benicio del Toro) who is trying to overthrow the government. The movie was directed by Andrew Dominik and co-written by Jack Thorne and Stephen Jethroe. The plot basically follows a familiar formula for an action-adventure movie – a dangerous mission is given to an ordinary guy who is somehow equipped with extraordinary skills; he then has to use those skills in order to save the day and restore justice.
The movie starts with a bang: Carles’ top aide, Esteban (Juanjo Martinez), is assassinated during a rally. In response, the Catalan leader suspends his campaign for independence and flees to England, where he is welcomed by the Queen (Elizabeth Taylor). From there, Carles travels to the United States, where he holds a press conference to declare his innocence and frustration at being unable to return to his homeland as things stand. On the flight back to England, Esteban’s assassin (played by Edward Norton) sneaks up behind him and shoots again. The bullet narrowly misses Carles, but it’s now clear that someone wants him dead and will do anything to make that happen.
Back in London, Carles joins a special unit of soldiers called The Catalans, which is meant to be a sort of police force for Catalonia. The leader of The Catalans is Bruno (Michael Nyqvist), who likes to think of himself as a modern-day Robert De Niro, with an Italian accent. He’s a complex and interesting character who has to balance his personal feelings about Carles with the job description of a police officer. Carles’ best friend and collaborator Tomas (Alban Frechter) is the head of MI6 in London, and he assigns Nicholas to be Bruno’s assistant and mentor. The two men bond over their shared interest in fashion. Bruno is a ladies’ man who likes to dress in high-end designer brands, while Nicholas is happiest in an old-school Barcalounger.
One of the movie’s more interesting aspects is that it stars Robert Pattinson, whose character switches gender entirely with each new movie he appears in. In this one, he plays a man named Nick who is in fact a woman named Nina. This is a gimmick that has been done before in movies (most notably, in the Mel Gibson vehicle, “Braveheart”) but it’s one that worked exceptionally well here. When you watch the movie and see Nicholson’s character change from a man to a woman, or Jodie Foster’s character in “The Accidental Tourist” change gender, it’s pretty surreal. Nicholson and Foster had to take hormone injections to play their characters in those films, and though Pattinson doesn’t seem to have gone that route, it’s still an unexpected appearance for a man who usually plays boys’ roles.
The Wrong Man
Back in Barcelona, it is revealed that Carles is not the target of the assassination attempt; the real target is a Catalan oil executive (Sebastian Koch) named Pau (Paul Rippon). It is said that this man is even more ruthless than Carles and willing to do anything to protect his interests. Pau is played with chilling perfection by Toby Jones, and he is the moral opposite of Carles: righteous, brave, and driven by a single-minded desire for revenge. The movie ends with an ambiguous scene in which Pau’s men attack and savagely beat a man wearing a Carles T-shirt. Though the victim isn’t actually named Carles, it’s a pretty clear reference to the movie’s main protagonist. As he is led away, the man says, “I’m a Carles fan”, to which one of Pau’s thugs replies, “We’re all Carles fans,” before the two laugh together. Is this a joke? Is the movie making fun of Carles fans? Who knows?
While the movie is entertaining and has many funny one-liners, it’s also far from perfect. The pacing is a bit off; though it is loosely based on a real story, it moves at a more leisurely pace than usual for an action movie. There are also some fairly egregious plot holes that could have been fixed had the movie been written by a more experienced hand. On the whole, it’s still an exciting tale that will keep you hooked until the very end. But if you’re a fan of “The Twilight Saga”, you may be disappointed by the fact that the story doesn’t live up to the grandiose promises that this reboot was bound to make. You may also feel a bit uneasy about how the story ends, with a scene in which the female lead is seen wearing a T-shirt with the name “Carles” on it. Though it’s not explained, one could speculate that this is a bit of a jab at the entire “Twilight” franchise, which focuses heavily on vampires and werewolves and the love interest that develops between the two main characters. It’s not necessarily inaccurate to point out that the movie’s titular character is a walking stereotype, despite the fact that he is supposed to be a lead character in a movie about a post-feminist, 21st century reboot of “Goldfinger’.
While “Good Time” doesn’t live up to the hype surrounding it, it’s still an exciting tale that will keep you intrigued right to the end.