Constantine Nikas is positive his little brother shouldn't be institutionalized for his mental disability. And that's all we learn about the hyperactive Queens street tough (Robert Pattinson) before he and his brother rob a bank.
This pacing is crucial to Good Time, Safdie brothers' forceful new thriller. As movies about robbery and the ensuing chase go, it's more like being dragged behind the getaway car than observing from the passenger seat. Good Time isn't concerned with conspiracy plot details or capers; it's an outlaw bender.
Composed by Oneohtrix Point Never, the soundtrack's pulse is unrelenting, and the camera is so duty-bound to characters' mugs it's actually a relief when the rare wide shot reveals a violent car wreck.
Amid the chaos, Pattinson as Constantine cuts a fascinating figure. Constantine's lack of control is disturbing, but his ability to improvise a next move is intoxicating through the tension. Though it's unclear whether this man really cares about his brother (or much of anything), he seems born for this panicked run from the law: What's a cunning New York rat without a maze?
CRITIC'S RATING: 3/4 stars.
Good Time is rated R. It plays at Clackamas, Fox Tower, Hollywood.