Pros: Adam Sandler’s dramatic performance; directors’ views on negative characters; music that escalates the situation Cons: the picture may not be the most pleasant viewing experience “Uncut Gems” / Uncut Gems
Genre crime drama, thriller
Directed by Josh Sadfi, Benny Sadfi
Cast: Adam Sandler (Howard Ratner), Kevin Garnett (playing himself), Idina Menzel (Dina Ratner), LaKeith Stanfield (Demany), Julia Fox (Julia Holmes), Eric Bogosian (Arno), Judd Hirsch (Gui), Paloma Elsesser (Kat), Mike Francesa (Anthony), The Weeknd (playing himself), etc.
Companies Elara Pictures, IAC Films, Scott Rudin Productions
Year of release 2019
The plot centers on jewelry store owner Howard (Adam Sandler), whose entire life is at risk. He makes bets, wanting to get rich, while being deeply in debt. He deceives clients in pursuit of easy money. He is absorbed in the excitement and imaginary genius of his business ideas, to which he devotes more time than to his family. His whole life is a bustle, fueled by adrenaline that suppresses common sense. In all this, the hero lives a special dream, the embodiment of which will be black opal from Ethiopia.
The movie Uncut Gems has some pretty interesting ratings. On the Rotten Tomatoes website, the film has a rating of 92% (based on 300 reviews from film critics). The audience rating there also shows 52%, which is somewhat confusing.
However, after watching everything falls into place. The film turns out to be a brilliant embodiment of the worst human qualities, which fit very naturally into the acting skills of Adam Sandler (it turns out that for many years he wasted time on dubious comedies, having the opportunity to show himself in dramatic roles). At the same time, the thriller causes almost physical discomfort, accompanied by a desire to quickly say goodbye to this story.
The ability to create a movie that is impossible to enjoy, and from which at some point it becomes difficult to tear yourself away, is the main quality of the Sadfi brothers, who acted as directors and screenwriters of Uncut Gems.
They began their careers with independent films, which were in no way penetrated by the pretentious touch of Hollywood chic. In 2017, the brothers presented the film Good Time, in which they managed to turn Robert Pattinson into a completely clueless thief whose good intentions turn into an insignificant disaster of human existence.
After the success of the film, the Sadfi brothers managed to gain the favor of Adam Sandler (the actor saw the script for Uncut Gems 10 years ago, but he refused to participate in the project) and a good budget to work in New York. Sadfi received permission to film in the “diamond district”, where an incredible number of jewelry outlets are concentrated, attracting rich people of all calibers.
The directors don’t even have to resort to any hyperbole. Huge watches, gold chains, decorated with stones and ridiculous pendants – all this is held in high esteem by a certain circle of people. To confirm this, performer The Weeknd appears in the frame, for whom wearing such accessories is in the order of things. A more important role is played by another guest celebrity – NBA champion Kevin Garnett, who agreed to play out his obsession with jewelry. (By the way, because of him, the events of the film take place in 2012, when Garnett was still playing for the Boston Celtics.)
The most obsessed with wealth, of course, is Adam Sandler’s character, who doesn’t need any backstory at all. It only takes two opening scenes to understand what the central character is like, and over the course of two hours it is painful to make sure that the undeceiving first impression is confirmed. This, by the way, does not affect the predictability of the plot. The Sadfi brothers have a lot of unnerving twists up their sleeves, aggravated by the gambling habits of the main character.
Adam Sandler’s acting performance did not receive an Oscar nomination (which caused a wave of publications condemning the American Film Academy). The fact is that this role is more significant for the actor himself, who is associated with comedies, than for the viewer, who is unlikely to want to re-watch “Uncut Gems.”
The lack of a nomination doesn’t take away from Sandler’s performance in conveying his character’s inner turmoil. In the film, the actor changes his speech and acquires unpleasant mannerisms, reflecting a restless nature. The Sadfi brothers add an electronic soundtrack to the acting, which keeps you in constant suspense, not allowing you to forget about the cost of the adventures that the main character embarks on. All this certainly works. It also increases the feeling of relief when the credits appear on the screen.
The film keeps you in suspense, causing a certain discomfort. This is an interesting move that the Sadfi brothers are going for. And also the reason why you want to watch the film to the end as quickly as possible.