UNCUT GEMS (R) ★★★★★ Letterboxd Score
Starrring: Adam Sandler, Idina Menzel, Julia Fox, LaKeith Stanfield
You cannot easily explain what Uncut Gems is about.
The closest comparison that I can make is that it is essentially A Serious Man (Coen Brothers) and any crime drama from Martin Scorsese rolled into one anxiety driven experience.
I am so serious. Let me put this into perspective. Imagine you are riding a roller coaster but you quickly realize that this roller coaster is actually rickety and feels like it’s going to fall off the rails, but you are already moving. You have second thoughts, however it’s too late to get off. After a few turns, it’s not so bad and you actually think that the ride is somewhat enjoyable. Then you suddenly remember again that you are on a busted roller coaster. At this point it is just too late and well, it’s over (I think you know what I mean). The Safdie brothers have mastered the ability to harness anxiety. There was one memorable scene in the movie that had so much going on, from a phones ringing, people yelling, to huge decisions being made, that I started to breath heavily and my heart raced. I began to sweat. I got caught up in it all. I literally had to calm down and remind myself that it was just a movie.
Why was there so much tension? It is simple, we were in Howard Ratner’s world. Howard thrives on quick decisions and impulses. He is unfaithful, a habitual gambler and he most importantly does not know when to shut up. We experience for a moment as Howard, what it feels like to constantly think you are right at the expense of others, even if you may be right a lot of the time. No matter what Howard did he had to constantly push those around him to the edge so he could get his way. Adam Sandler should absolutely be nominated for his contribution to Uncut Gems and it would be an injustice if he did not get recognized for this remarkable role.
A complex and beautiful, but intense cinematic experience that is not for everyone. I believe if you love and respect film, you will find that Uncut Gems adds to the ever evolving art of film and storytelling. I highly recommend it.