Popular comedian and actor, Adam Sandler, teamed up with Safdie brothers to deliver the best performance of his career, ironically, in a hardboiled-crime thriller which promises to keep the audience at the edge of their seat throughout.
Uncut Gems revolves around the life of a NYC based jeweller, Howard Ranter, on the path of self-destruction due to his gambling addiction. He is neck-deep in debt, insulted by goons in front of his own co-workers, hated by his daughter, on the brink of divorce, cheated on by his mistress, beaten and locked up in the trunk of his car naked, thrown into a fountain, and might also have colon cancer.
But like every gambler, Ranter is constantly on a look out for his next big score, which he eventually finds in an uncut black opal smuggled from Ethiopia.
All hell breaks loose, when NBA star Kevin Garnett visits his showroom and wants to borrow the opal for a game as he believes, it’s his good luck charm. Howard now struggles to retrieve the opal back by making crazy bets and staking his life.
Directors Josh and Benny Safdi’s writing took the movie to another level. I believe that the screenplay is a cinematic masterpiece. People constantly yelling and talking over each other made the scenes look natural and unscripted. The acting seems improvised and the film doesn’t lose grip.
The film gets your heart racing. The writing is so fast paced, that every scene felt like it was building up to get your adrenaline pumping. The most stressful scene in the movie, according to me, was when KG did come back with his opal in the showroom, but the metal door gets jammed and Adam Sandler struggles and panics to get the door buzzed with people constantly yelling. The scene was so intense, it made me shake my legs restlessly just by watching Sandlers acting.
I don’t want to give away any more spoilers, but the ending is mind blowing. You will have so many things to say but won’t be able to because you’re still trying to catch your breath. You’ll find yourself staring at your end credits just trying to process the whole thing.
The actual "gem" in the movie was Adam Sandler. The Safdie brother’s were so confident in casting Sandler that they first offered him the film in 2009 but because of his unavailability, the project was shelved. The Safdies were so adam-ant in their choice that they didn’t consider casting anyone else even if it meant delaying the film by a decade. Finally, the project started to take shape when Martin Scorsese got involved as an executive producer which as the Safdie brother’s say, lifted the profile of the project.
Contrary to the popular belief, comedians can play serious roles and Sandler’s performance in Uncut Gems just one example. It’s sad that the Academy didn’t even acknowledge his performance enough even for a nomination for Best Actor. Even though his character makes you want to punch the guy, but because it’s Adam Sandler, you feel a certain connection and that ultimately makes you sympathise with him. Further, in the middle of the film, Sandler legit gets into a fistfight with The Weeknd and you’ll find yourself rooting for Howard. Even if it means going against The Weekend.
Uncut Gems is available on Netflix but watching it in IMAX would have been a surreal experience. The film is "major" in all aspects. Extraordinary cinematography. Marvellous writing. 135 minutes of absolute entertainment. Brilliant performance by everyone. Intense editing. Fantastic direction. THIS IS PEAK CINEMA.