Good Time (Benny and Josh Safdie, 2017)

By Mónica Delgado

The sense of rhythm towards action the defines the identity of Good Time, film by Benny and Josh Safdie, but also of You Were Never Really Here, by Scottish filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, both films in competition in this recent Cannes which share many elements in common.

Both films are marked by the impulse of their soundtrack, designed and produced by experienced musicians such as Oneohtrix Point Never in Good Time and Jonny Greenwood in the Ramsey’s film. And this mark becomes a resource that sets the atmosphere of a criminal world in a stale New York, of dark characters and in permanent flight or high speed chases.

Like it has happened before with recent films such as It Follows (musicalized by Disasterpiece) or Cold in July, also seen in previous editions of Cannes (Critics’ Week), the music not only recreates an ambiance that considerably contributes to transform the conventional characteristics of genre cinema (terror, crime, such in this cases) but also allows a nostalgic spirit to set in, through vintage music, electronic sounds and an eighties sensibility. Something of that peeks in both films of this new Cannes, which don’t really appeal to nostalgia but to a déjà vu of fast-paced cinema a la Scorsese or Lumet, allowing another look of the world’s most filmed city.

You Were Never Really Here (Ramsay, 2017)

In the Sadies’ brother’s film: from the first minutes, in this sort of intro that allows us to identify the relation of the protagonists (a couple of brothers -imaginary alter egos of the brothers directing the film), the music emphasizes the suspense, both in the scenes of robberies, in the escapes and incursions, building the tonality of the lead character’s psyche, a fugitive of justice (Robert Pattinson) who does the impossible to bring back his brother in jail, admitted in a hospital. While in Ramsay’s film the same thing happens at the beginning. The music sets the pace of violence, in an intro that describes the brutality of a hitman that rescues girls from prostitution and pedophilia, a pace that loses its initial intensity.

If somehow the Safdie’s film turns out to be superior and more accomplished in general compared to the Ramsay’s one, that dwells in moral justice and child disorders as defining characters of violent and antisocial behaviors, both films are marked by a primacy of sound, where the images obey this cadence aligned to the editing. Without the music, Good Time would look mutilated, without power, while in Ramsey’s film the music (diegetic or not) tries to explain the traumas of the lead character and it’s largely dispensable, thus the great difference.

Directores: Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie
Productores: Sebastian Bear-McClard, Oscar Boyson, Terry Dougas, Paris Kasidokostas Latsis
Script: Ronald Bronstein, Joshua Safdie
Fotografía: Sean Price Williams
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Barkhad Abdi

Directora: Lynne Ramsay
Productores: Rosa Attab, Pascal Caucheteux, Lynne Ramsay, James Wilson
Escrito por: Jonathan Ames (novela), Lynne Ramsay (script)
Fotografía: Thomas Townend
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola
EEUU, Francia