From an early stage, the Safdie brothers' sensitive, psychedelic and absorbing work has thrived on the essence of Mumblecore. Emerging from a series of low-budget productions in the 2000s, this American independent cinema movement uses over-the-shoulder cameras to capture the angst of its protagonists. Citing Renoir and Cassavetes as their role models, the New York directing duo have developed a strikingly naturalistic style that chimes with their belief that reality must be captured if it is to be effectively portrayed.
After Lenny and the Kids (2009), their filmography adopted a darker tone in 2014 with Mad Love in New York, a visceral feature film inspired by the destructive and amorous wandering of a homeless junkie encountered in the subway. Filmed using long shots to disengage the actors from the technical team and confront them with the energy of the street without a filter, the film shines due to its ability to capture the spirit of New York’s marginal side, in echo of Martin Scorsese in Taxi Driver.
The influence of the 1976 Palme d'or is apparent in Good Time, a dark feature film whose main character, a psychopath played by Robert Pattinson, is reminiscent of Travis Bickle, the tortured hero of Scorsese’s cult film.
Good Time recounts the tense night spent by Nick and Connie, two brothers on the run after a failed robbery. The film was shot in New York, with a prison in Queens used to recreate the oppressive atmosphere of the famous detention centre on Rikers Island. The film’s screenplay was co-written by Ronald Bronstein, who has worked on each feature film produced by the two directors.