Good Time

Good Time ★★★★★

In a strictly nuts and bolts sense, music’s role in cinema is often a subservient one. A soundtrack is carried along by the ebbs and flows of the on-screen drama, prodding the audience to let them know when they should be in good spirits and when they should be sour; as Hollywood becomes increasingly lazy, a score literally underscores the emotive notes of a film. Think of the modern blockbuster and try to conjure up a moment where the music genuinely led the direction of a scene, or even a single memorable musical motif. There’s an overriding sentiment in the milquetoast mainstream that soundtracks should be heard, but not listened to.

Two months on from considering how Daniel Lopatin undercut the anxious energy of Uncut Gems (2020), it seemed fitting to further analyse his work on the Safdie Brothers’ previous picture, Good Time (2017). While both films feature abrasive scores by Lopatin, aka Oneohtrix Point Never, the purpose of that abrasion is distinct. Where Uncut Gems is giddy, Good Time is dour, and where Uncut Gems saw Lopatin twist anxiety into cosmic purpose, in Good Time he’s far more in tune with the minute-to-minute seat-of-your-pants propulsion. Subservient, however, he is not.

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