Hary Artemis’s review published on Letterboxd:
Or “We’ ve got a helicopter and we are going to use it!”
There is a real overkill of helicopter shots in this propulsive, initially breathlessly exciting but ultimately exhausting and tiresome, scuzzy thriller, starting with the most impressive shot in the whole film, a bullet zoom towards a high rise building.
The busy, incessantly kinetic style full of intrusive close-ups, hand-held camerawork, colour saturated night shots and the relentless synthesiser score by electronic pioneer OneThrixPointNever while initially quite exhilarating and impressive gets exhausting and tiresome pretty quickly. Or maybe its because the film seems to be populated solely by idiots of various shades.
An unrecognisable and quite effective Robert Pattinson (who even sports bleached blonde hair from about the half-way point onwards - perhaps to emphasize his whiteness?), following on from his impressive work in Lost City of Z, plays Constantine “Connie” Nikas, a hyper opportunistic sleazebag of a con artist who (quite annoyingly) never takes a remotely smart decision in the whole film. He enlists his mentally handicapped brother Nick in a bank robbery, after “saving” him from a therapy session. The heist, predictably, goes horribly wrong (in what is - perhaps unintentionally - a very funny scene) and the camera thenceforth follows the brothers and their nightmarish “adventures” over the next approximately 24 hours in an obvious homage to early Scorsese (Mean Streets and especially After Hours), with echoes also of influences such as Michael Mann (in its look) and Abel Ferrara, though frankly, there’s hardly enough to it to reach the heights achieved by these directors.
As if the whole endeavour was not OTT enough the Safdies also use the film to highlight white privilege and the taking advantage of ethnic minorities in the US by whites (it obviously is not a co-incidence that almost everybody who suffers in the hands of Connie in his presumptive attempts to get what he wants at any given time is black or at least “ethnic”). There is even some commentary about the institutional racism of the NYPD in the ultimate fate of a security guard played by Barhad Abdi. But such attempts at social commentary are half hearted at best and dont go anywhere interesting.