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11 Films to Watch After Seeing ‘Good Time’

Written by on August 14, 2017 

good-time

In their feature films, directors Josh and Ben Safdie have always walked a fine line between fact and fiction. Not quite documentaries and not quite traditional narratives, their work takes on an air of alarming spontaneity, threatening to jump off the screen at you. Between Daddy Longlegs and Heaven Knows What, the Safdies captured a gorgeously grainy snapshot of their home city of New York, both painfully truthful and deeply impacting.

Their latest, Good Time, returns to New York City, this time bringing a pulp edge to their naturalistic aesthetic. After a botched bank robbery lands his brother Nick (Ben Safdie) in jail, Constantine (Robert Pattinson) is forced out of Queens into the city to bring his brother home, at any cost.

Our review describes Good Time as “in parts a heist movie (iconic masks included) and a chase movie, but not an homage in any sense — more an evolution, like a 21st-century fast-food hybrid that mixes trash television and drug culture with Day-Glo-splattered night-time cinematography and throbbing synthesizers, thanks to a standout score from Oneohtrix Point Never.”

To honor the occasion, we’ve assembled eleven fantastic films to check out before or after seeing Good Time. Check out the list below and feel free to suggest your own recommendations in the comments.

A Prophet (Jacques Audiard)

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While Malik is serving six years for assaulting a police officer, he admits to another inmate that he can’t read. The inmate suggests learning while in prison: “The idea is to get out of here a little smarter.” Our brutal, assembly-line prison system irrevocably transforms people, altering their lives in unimaginable ways, with true rehabilitation the least traveled route in many cases. Raised in a Youth Center, Malik’s institutionalized life only takes shape after he’s inducted into a Corsican prison gang, giving him strength and purpose for the first time. Comparable to Martin Scorsese’s essential Goodfellas, A Prophet follows a lowly pawn used and abused by a vast criminal organization, until he learns how to use them for his own gain.

After Hours (Martin Scorsese)

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An unsuccessful first-date morphs into a frenzied, Kafka-esque race for survival as one New Yorker attempts to accomplish the impossible: getting home from SoHo after a long night. Taunting twists of fate push our hero deeper into the city, endowing the film’s title with an otherworldly mood; after hours, the landscape becomes a hellish nocturnal mind-game. Boasting a stunning cast, including Teri Garr, Rosanna Arquette and John Heard, After Hours is anchored by a career-best performance from Griffin Dunne. Director Martin Scorsese (who won Best Director prize at Cannes for the film) renders every sequence simultaneously hysterically funny and jarringly nerve-shredding, creating a delirious exploration of ‘80s urban schadenfreude.

Blast of Silence (Allen Baron)

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A Cleveland hitman, Frankie Bono, finds himself in New York City for Christmas, tasked with killing a mid-level mobster. He hears carolers singing “Silent Night” as the voice in his head poetically urges him on, like a co-dependent Raymond Chandler, to complete this unpleasant job. As the narration informs us, Bono is a loner, but after running into an old friend, he finds unexpected warmth in the cold city, if only for a short time. Allen Baron’s Blast of Silence captures a period snapshot of New York with the same faded glow as John Cassavettes’s Shadows, released only a year before. Shot on a meager budget of $20,000, the incredibly resonance of Baron’s film is a testament to Meyer Kupferman’s thrilling jazz score and Waldo Salt’s riveting narration, voiced by an uncredited Lionel Stander.

Cosmopolis (David Cronenberg)

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In the wake of his tenure in the Twilight saga, Robert Pattinson could have followed in the footsteps of so many young actors, chasing blockbusters. Instead, he took to chasing great filmmakers, such as David Cronenberg. Pattinson’s role in the adaptation of Don DeLillo’s Cosmopolis hums with beautifully precise humor, endowed by director Cronenberg’s careful attention to detail. The protagonist’s sleek white limo is gradually reduced from its ivory perfection to a graffiti covered mess. The film’s overall look mirrors that of the limo: the story begins in Packer’s world, a gorgeous place where everything is sleek, new and top of the line, and ends in dank, grungy squalor. While bearing none of Cronenberg’s body-horror visual hallmarks, Cosmopolis is a chillingly calculated film, and amongst the director’s most mature works.

Drunken Angel (Akira Kurosawa)

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Volatility lies at the center of Drunken Angel. Two volatile personalities clash: equally stubborn and frustrated men who demand the world follow by their rules. A shamed doctor, working in squalor, gives a yakuza boss a troubling diagnosis. The hardened criminal is deeply shaken, drinking his worries away against the doctor’s orders. While the doctor admonishes him for his drunkenness, he himself dilutes rubbing alcohol with water, hiding his own alcoholism as best he can. Akira Kurosawa’s mournful and tender film depicts a world reeling in the aftermath of the war, attempting to carry on without any sign of hope. These lost and broken souls cannot redeem themselves in such a poisonous world, but a drunken angel sees a glimmer of hope for the next generation, as faint as that light may be.

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