Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler, is always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.
Plot: With his debts mounting and angry collectors closing in, a fast-talking New York City jeweler risks everything in hope of staying afloat and alive.
Director: Safdie Brothers
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Runtime: 135 min
Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Uncut Gems reaffirms the Safdies as masters of anxiety-inducing cinema — and proves Adam Sandler remains a formidable dramatic actor when given the right material.
“A nail-biting thriller!”
In 2010 an Ethiopian Jewish miners retrieve a rare black opal from a mine in Africa, remember that. Two years in the future, gambling addict Howard Ratner, who runs a jewelry store in New York’s Diamond District struggles to pay off gambling debts, including $100,000 he owes to his loan shark brother-in-law. His domestic life is split between his estranged wife Dinah, who has agreed to divorce him after Passover, and his girlfriend Julia, an employee at his jewelry shop. Howard’s other employee Demany recruits basketball player Kevin Garnett to visit the store, and the Ethiopian opal, which Howard had ordered, unintentionally arrives while Garnett is in the shop. He shows the opal to Garnett, who becomes obsessed with it, insisting on holding onto it for good luck at his game that night. Howard agrees, accepting Garnett’s NBA championship ring as collateral.
What could go wrong? Right after Garnett leaves, Howard pawns the ring and places a bet on Garnett playing extraordinarily well in that night’s game amongst other insane things you will have to see to believe. When Howard wins the lucrative and mind-bending bet, he’s ambushed at his daughter’s school play by Arno and his bodyguards and locked naked in the trunk of his own car.
What happens next? Will he get out of the mess he created? You’ll need to watch the film to find out.
In conclusion —
A24 is my favorite studio in the industry right now, every time they release a new film, I go and see it, no matter what it’s about or who’s in it. It’s vary rare that you can have that kind of loyalty outside of massive studios like Marvel. I don’t talk about A24 enough on this site, but let me just say, it was very exciting to me that I received this product from them to review. (Hopefully this can continue into the future.) If you haven’t hopped on the A24 bandwagon yet, feel free to do so.
Back to the movie, right when I saw the trailer for Uncut Gems I was all in. Safdie Brothers, Adam Sandler, A24 & the tone it seemed to set… let’s do this. Let me just say, this was the most nail-biting, mentally-exhausting movies I have ever seen — you could ever go as far as to say it gave me anxiety in the theater. Uncut Gems perfectly illustrates the life of a gambler that lives on the edge and makes decisions based on no or little intelligence with split-second thoughts and ideals that vary from scene to scene. Everything about it felt raw, real and in the moment, you don’t get movies made like this much anymore. It’s awesome.
This is Adam Sandler’s best role on screen to date and he completely nails it — elevating the tension in every scene as the movie carries on. When things start to get hectic and out of control you can feel the drama move through his character flawlessly. Adam Sandler was Oscar-worthy with this role, it’s unfortunate that he wasn’t nominated.
Taking everything I’ve said into account, Uncut Gems gets my recommendation for an automatic day-one purchase. Do yourself a favor, grab a copy at your local retailer on Blu-ray today. You won’t be disappointed. It’s one of the better films of 2019, don’t sleep on it.
Did you catch Uncut Gems in theater? Were you a fan of this movie? Will you be picking it up to own? Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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