Make that two botched robberies, actually. First (and the only one I'll give away) is the more common: money from a bank. Connie (Patinson) twists the arm of his mentally challenged brother Nick (Benny Safdie) to threaten and steal from a teller. They say they are armed from beneath truly creepy lifelike masks, but we see no evidence of this. Like a dope, though, Connie doesn't just take what's in the drawer, he needs a specific sum, and asks for bills from the back. The teller slips an exploding dye pack in the bag (has he never seen a movie?!?) which leads to a very realistic and clumsy chase.
Directors Josh and Benny Safdie (Josh doesn't make an appearance, but he did co-write the script with Ronald Bronstein) love grainy color saturation, rhythmic editing and to get under your skin with propulsive, eerie electronic music. Their last film, the drug addiction drama Heaven Knows What, was notable for its intense, ice-bucket-over-your-head opening (find it streaming on Netflix). Good Time feels like they set out to challenge their previous triumph.
After this gripping prologue, most of Good Time is set during one increasingly challenging night, as if Martin Scorsese's After Hours replaced its humor with panicked desperation. Connie needs to bail Nick out of jail, so first he tries to get money from his girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who has access to her mother's credit card. Leigh is emotionally immature and easily bullied (no one does "hot mess express" quite like Leigh), but after a tense scene in a bondsman shop, Connie learns that Nick has been transferred to a hospital.