Uncut Gems (2019)



Movie Title: Uncut Gems

Year Released: 2019

Rated: R

Runtime: 2h 15min

Genre: Crime, Thriller

Director: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie

Writer: Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie

Starring: Adam Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Eric Bogosian, Keith Williams Richards, Judd Hirsch, Mike Francesa, Noa Fisher, Jonathan Aranbayev, Jacob Igielski

Review: Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a charismatic jeweller, makes a high-stakes bet that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. In a precarious high-wire act, he must balance business, family and adversaries on all sides in pursuit of the ultimate win.

Adam Sandler and Uncut Gems were robbed! As the 2020 Oscar nominees were announced, Sandler and this film were shut out by the folks over at the Academy. And quite frankly, that stinks. People are used to Sandler and his toilet-humor shtick in movies such as Happy Gilmore and Eight Crazy Nights. I think it might be hard for prestigious organizations like the Academy to separate that when truly great movies with great performances come across their desks. All that aside, Uncut Gems was an incredibly captivating roller coaster of a film, and a true joy to watch. Adam Sandler is at his absolute best, portraying a character that is nowhere near what people typically expect. Sandler plays Howard Ratner with a strong sense of charisma and exuberance despite his blatant self-destructive nature. The character takes us on a ride that features everything from euphoric highs, to soul-crushing lows, and everything in between. In addition to Sandler, I thought Julia Fox was fantastic as Howard's mistress/girlfriend, proving to be the only character in the film that truly loves Howard and can somewhat sneak beneath his brash exterior. I also really enjoyed NBA All-Star and former Boston Celtic, Kevin Garnett's work in this film. For someone who is an athlete by trade, I thought he did a great job playing the central figure behind Howard's erratic gambling behavior.

Watching this film is truly an experience. I found myself clinging to every single shot of the games in which Howard bet on Garnett and the Celtics. Inspired by actual basketball games that took place in 2012, I never knew whether history would repeat itself or if the Safdie brothers were going to re-write it for the film. This film induces anxiety with its unashamed unpredictability. All of this self-destruction ultimately climaxes with a final act that is wildly entertaining and heartbreaking. The ripple effect of Howard's calamitous behavior knows no bounds and the result is a movie that needs to be seen to be believed. People averse to cursing beware as there is no shortage of vulgar language here. But all-star performances, a great script, and twists and turns throughout make Uncut Gems a must-watch crime thriller. I highly recommend this film!

Stars (out of 4):
       

Fun Fact: The house used for the exterior of Howard Ratner's (Adam Sandler) home is the same house used as Freddie Mercury's (Rami Malek) home in Bohemian Rhapsody (2018).



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