Uncut Gems ★★★★★
An Adam Sandler movie connotes bad acting and a stupid plot. Not ‘Uncut Gems’ – it’s fast, furious, heart-pounding and brilliant.
Shockingly and shamelessly ‘Uncut Gems’ has been ignored by the people who give out film awards – its Sandlers’ best film ever as well as one of the years top movies.
The action and plot in ‘Uncut Gems’ builds and accelerates into hyperdrive – a feeling probably akin to being on meth with the high becoming more and more intense until an explosive ending.
Sandler plays Manhattan gem dealer Harold Ratner, a man known to place a few bets in his time. He comes across a rare black opal which he wants to sell for a big score. But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Other people (criminals) also want their hands on the opal, meanwhile, Ratner owes money to loan sharks, he’s been cheating on his wife (Idina Menzel) with his sexy and saucy mistress who is his assistant in the jewellery shop (Julia Fox). Also involved is a professional basketball player dangling lots of money in his face to spend on jewellery. Combining all this and what you have is a man whose life is spiralling out of control to a point where it’s do or die for Ratner.
To say Sandler is brilliant is an understatement. I saw this film last year at the BFI London Film Festival and didn’t know what to expect going in. When I left the cinema 135 minutes later, my head was spinning and my mind took hours to process what I had just seen. The ending is such a crescendo it’s so unlike anything you’d expect from a Sandler movie.
Directors (and brothers) Benny and Josh Safdie (who did the award-winning 2017 film Good Time starring Robert Pattison), with a script by both of them (and Ronald Bronstein), bring us a superb film that’s thrilling, intense, and will have you on the edge of your seat. And while all the cast is brilliant, Uncut Gems is Sandlers’ movie.
Go see it just for him, and expect the ending to just blow your mind.
‘Uncut Gems’ is on Netflix but is also currently playing in cinemas.
Tim Baros writes film and theatre articles/ reviews for Pride Life and The American magazines and websites, as well as for Hereisthecity.com, Blu-RayDefinition.com and TheGayUK.com. He has also written for In Touch and TNT Magazines, SquareMile.com and LatinoLife.co.uk. He is a voting member for the UK Regional Critics Circle and the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (GALECA – of which he is the UK representative). In addition, he has produced and directed two films: The Shirt and Rex Melville Desire: The Musical.