Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 2017. Elara Pictures, Rhea Films. Screenplay by Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie. Cinematography by Sean Price Williams. Produced by Sebastian Bear-McClard, Oscar Boyson, Terry Dougas, Paris Kasidokostas Latsis. Music by Daniel Lopatin. Production Design by Sam Lisenco. Costume Design by Miyako Bellizzi. Film Editing by Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie. Cannes Film Festival 2017. Gotham Awards 2017.
A bank robbery in Flushing is pulled off successfully by two small time hoods, but an unforeseen security measure makes itself known mid-getaway. The two criminals, who are also brothers, are suddenly in a chase that sees the mentally challenged sibling (co-director Benny Safdie) taken into police custody, at which point his protective older brother (Robert Pattinson) tries to use the loot to get his brother out on bail. The cash that Pattinson stole isn’t enough to get his brother out, so he goes first to his erratic girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh) for help before finding out that Safdie has been taken to hospital after a fight in his jail cell and tries to bust him out of there. Taking place almost entirely in one period of time, this fascinating trip down a grimy rabbit hole is concerned with unsavoury characters who are never lionized as members of an unfairly oppressed economic class or judged for their bad life choices. Pattinson is a steam engine of talent in the lead, most impressively blending in without ever seeming like a movie star playing trash, while the turns that the plot takes never fail to engage or amuse. Intense, gorgeously shot and often quite haunting.