FROM DUSK TIL DAWN: SIX FILMS TO WATCH ALL NIGHT, CHOSEN BY THE SAFDIE BROTHERS
You know the star, but you've never seen him like this. You know the city, but you've never seen this side of it. You may not know the filmmakers, but once you’ve seen Good Time the Safdie brothers will be a name you remember.
The Safdie brothers rose to prominence with their third feature, 2014's Heaven Knows What. Adapted from the as yet unpublished memoirs of a recovering heroin addict, Heaven Knows What invited comparison with the likes of Christiane F. and Requiem for a Dream, but it had a ferocious energy all its own, befitting of the gritty NYC streets on which it is set.
The Safdie brothers grew up in Queens, where much of the action in their latest film, Good Time, takes place. It's a cinematic vision of New York that turns that popular ode to The Big Apple on its head: If you can make it out of there, you might just make it. Good Time’s Connie, played by an unrecognisable Robert Pattinson, is on precisely that mission. His brother Nick (played by Benny Safdie) has a mental handicap, making him particularly vulnerable in this unsympathetic city, and so it is Connie’s dream to liberate them both from its gutters. A failed bank robbery sees Nick arrested and thrown into a harsh New York jail, so Connie embarks on a frantic mission to find enough cash to pay his brother's bail before it’s too late, all the while evading arrest himself. Things go wrong at every turn, but Connie refuses to give up.
Taking place over 24 sleepless hours, Good Time is pumped full of cinematic adrenaline, in no small part thanks to a Cannes Award-winning soundtrack by Oneohtrix Point Never. It’s a wild ride, and so we asked the Safdie brothers to plan an all-nighter of all-nighters: six films that speak to the spirit of Good Time.
An all-nighter of all-nighters
8pm - Collateral
“Tom Cruise plays the meta-man in an all nighter with Jamie Foxx. Two men stuck together after something intangible.” Josh and Benny Safdie
Kick off the all-nighter with this nighthawk of a film starring Tom Cruise as a hired assassin with a penchant for sarcasm and jazz, who hijacks Jamie Foxx's taxi driver for a late night tour of homicidal hits. Mann's work here perfectly evokes the disconnected sprawl of Los Angeles, the cold heart of the urban night, and the insidious charm of one of Hollywood’s most enduring leading men.
10pm - After Hours
“Griffin Dunne plays the isolated yuppie yearning for some intimacy and a break from the cubical hell his daily life provides and finds it (nightmarishly and comedically) in a proto-Soho Downtown journey.” Josh and Benny Safdie
Stop two on our all-nighter is Scorsese’s "yuppie nightmare" After Hours, one of the director's most audacious films, entirely meandering and determinedly non commercial, but also one of his most artistic and blackly funny. Taking place in New York City's SoHo district during the late '80s when gentrification had all but washed away the bohemian art set, the hapless Paul find himself the embodiment of that changing tide, trapped in a maze of hostile streets...
12am - Night of the Living Dead
“A casting decision in Duane Jones makes a horrific story about a group of strangers trapped in a house as zombies sniff them out into a subtle portrait of race in America.” Josh and Benny Safdie
The witching hour demands horror, and the late George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead is just the midnight pep you need on this cinematic all-nighter. The special and practical effects may have aged, and the zombie’s have since learned to run, but this genre defining horror has retained all of its potency thanks to a denouement that affords it an unfortunate but enduring timeliness.
2am - The Incident
“A zig-zagging night-portrait of an incident on a NYC subway revolving around two electric performances. One an impeccable, menacing and super-punk performance by Tony Musante and the other a supremely moral, grounding and tender performance from a very young Beau Bridges. Don’t forget Martin Sheen’s first on-screen performance.” Josh and Benny Safdie
The early hours of the morning require something extremely tense and claustrophobic to keep you alert. Peerce's The Incident is just the ticket, as a commuter train crammed with a cross-section of New York citizens is besieged by the greatest social threat of the '60s... beatnik punks!
4am - Naked
“David Thewlis tears up London in the greatest nihilist performance of all time, coming across all the marginalized folks he’s attracted to like incredible street urchins (Ewen Bremner!), an ex-girlfriend, a security guard and other lost misery that found company. “He’s a mate.. yeah a primate.” Josh and Benny Safdie
Things tend to get fairly introspective around this time, don't they? Depicting London as an emotionally withholding place populated with codependent lovers each beholden to its promises of happiness, it takes the committed cynicism of David Thewlis’ wordsmith, with his toxic charms and Lothario wit, to bring it all down to Earth. Of course, at the heart of every cynic there lies a true romantic.
6am - Miracle Mile
"Anthony Edwards stars in this Tangerine Dream scored stylistic sci-fi/disaster/apocalyptic film where NOTHING GOES RIGHT!" Josh and Benny Safdie
A new day has begun, and you'll need a final shot of cinematic adrenaline to make it through. Before his days on ER, Anthony Edwards starred in this no-holds-barred carnival of chaos set in and around the Miracle Mile neighbourhood of Los Angeles over one ill-fated day and night.
The Safdie Brothers' Good Time is playing now on Curzon Home Cinema.