The Safdies were born and raised in New York City to parents of Jewish descent. Their passion for their city and heritage is clearly shown in their films. The duo began making films at an early age and first came on the map after their self-financed film, Daddy Longlegs, which received positive reviews. From there, the Safdies wrote and directed Heaven Knows What, a psychological film focusing on a heroin addict in New York City. The film was based on the memoirs of Arielle Holmes, who plays the lead role of Harley. The film’s vibrant poster caught the eye of Robert Pattinson who was then determined to work with the Safdies without even seeing the movie. From there, it’s history.
Their career continued with two groundbreaking films, Good Time and Uncut Gems. The Safdies wowed audiences and critics alike with Good Time, the story of Connie Nikas (Robert Pattinson) on an odyssey throughout New York City to get his mentally-disabled brother, Nick (Benny Safdie) out of prison after a botched bank robbery. The film, in a way, reinvented Pattinson’s career showing us that he has the acting capabilities to make him one of the greats.
They followed up &Good Time& with Uncut Gems, the anxiety-inducing story of Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) on a quest to retrieve a precious gem to pay off gambling debts before it’s too late. Sandler shines in a career-defining and very underrated performance. The success of these films proved the sheer capabilities of the Safdie brothers and fans are eager to know what is next for them. Luckily the filmmaking duo have been up to a lot since the release of (Uncut Gems}.
The brilliance of the Safdie brothers
The Safdies are pure originals who deserve every bit of credit and hype that they’re receiving. At the same time, you can clearly see how they are influenced by legends like John Cassavetes and Robert Bresson.
The Safdies utilize framing and camera movements to put focus on emotion and characters. They frequently use extreme close-ups as well as long-distance tracking shots depending on the emotion of each scene. Their cinematography is unique to them and they utilize color in all of their films, like Howard Ratner’s orange shirt in the club scene of Uncut Gems. The club is filled with people, but our focus is kept on Howard. The color red is seen throughout Good Time; the red dye explosion and Connie’s red clothing correlates with the passion and frustration he has for getting his brother out of jail.
Their direction gets the best out of every actor they work with. Who would have thought that Kevin Garnett would be so convincing on the big screen? All it takes is a good director. The Safdies are known for casting non-actors in roles and it always pays off. In every film, they brilliantly use techniques to convey emotion and character development. In the final scene of Good Time, the credits start rolling as soon as Nick Nikas begins to follow suit with the rest of the mentally-disabled characters in the “walk across the room” game, showing that he is finally where he needs to be. It is a fact that the Safdie brothers are two of the hardest-working filmmakers currently in the business. They edit, produce, shoot, and create brilliant sound designs for many of their own projects.
Benny Safdie has been doing a lot of acting
Benny Safdie brilliantly played the mentally-disabled and hearing-impaired character of Nick Nikas in &Good Time&. He proved his capabilities as an actor and since then, we have been rightfully seeing him pop up more and more in other films. In the 2020 film, &Pieces Of A Woman&, Safdie had a supporting role as Chris, a car salesman and family friend of the main characters. He gives a subtle and convincing performance, especially in a long take when he struggles to create small talk at an awkward Thanksgiving dinner. Since then, Safdie has been cast in Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film Licorice Pizza as well as the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi& miniseries.
The Safdies just signed a two-year deal with HBO and A24
It’s very exciting to hear that the Safdie Brothers will be bringing their skills to two of the best production companies in the business. HBO is a great place for them to utilize their talents, and the involvement of A24 makes it that much more exciting. HBO has not released a lot of information on what projects are to come, but it is expected that HBO and A24 will grant them the wings to soar across these new platforms. One project that we do know of is a Paul Reubens documentary that Josh and Benny Safdie will be producing. Reubens is best known for his famous character of Pee-wee Herman as well as his supporting role in &Blow&. Reubens also had controversy behind the camera &that will make for a thought-provoking documentary.
The Safdies are producing The Curse with Nathan Fielder
The collaboration between the Safdies and Nathan Fielder may be the most exciting project currently in Hollywood. Nathan Fielder is known for his hit Comedy Central series, &Nathan For You where he plays a fictionalized version of himself &giving questionable advice to small businesses. &Nathan For You& is some of the funniest content on TV, and Fielder’s droll and self-inflicting humor makes it all the better.
&The Curse& is set to premiere on Showtime and the cast will include Fielder, Benny Safdie, and Oscar-winning actress Emma Stone. Both the Safdies will be producing and the series will be written by Benny Safdie and Fielder. The plot seems to be something from another world. The story follows the relationship of a newly married couple as they try to conceive a child while co-starring on a new HGTV show. At the same time, their existence is disrupted by a supernatural curse. The series is said to touch on many different genres.
The combination of the Safdies’ brilliance and Fielder’s comedic talents will undoubtedly create a fantastically original piece of work.