A movie centered around Howie Ratner (Adam Sandler), a fascinating New York City jeweler, who’s struggling to cope with a crippling gambling addiction as well as the breakup of his family. Howie, however, seems to have hit the jackpot after sourcing a rare uncut rock of Ethiopian gems, but he continues to push his luck and ultimately pays the price for actions. A marmite movie for some, that perhaps got a little too much hype for its own good before being officially released to audiences. Uncut Gems is currently streaming on Netflix.
Director: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Writers: Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Starring: Adam Sandler
Uncut Gems was a rather ‘unique’ piece of cinema that perhaps won’t quite hit the spot with many of its viewers – myself included – as I found the flick incredibly difficult to focus on, as the chaotic nature of each scene was just too much to stomach, causing more of a headache notion than clear and concise direction throughout. In my eyes, many of the scenes were convoluted with several raised voices and heated conversations going on simultaneously, much to my annoyance.
Understandably, this is more than likely the exact kind of feeling that the filmmakers wanted to generate, but I’m not quite sure it’s one that many will enjoy. Amongst the negativity however, there was in my opinion, a very good soundtrack chosen and played throughout, adding a beautiful retro feel to the movie.
Another aspect to pick up on was the fact that the much talked about suspense and intensity wasn’t quite delivered as expected. Large elements of it was centred around sports – Basketball to be exact. Howie had to feed his gambling addiction by constantly pushing the barrier time and time again in the vein hopes of finally hitting big. I felt that many of the gambling scenes that involved the sport could be lost on non-basketball fans, but it’s fair to say that gamblers will have been able to feel the tension, for sure.
In term of the casting, Adam Sandler did a terrific job as Howie Ratner – many were disappointed that the actor didn’t pick up an Oscar nomination and they definately have a point. It could also be argued that Julia Fox stole the show in her supporting role, she adopted the character of Julia De Fiore – the love interest of Howie. Julia is somebody we’re more than likely going to be seeing a lot more of in the future.
Overall, Uncut Gems hit the screens after an unbelievable amount of hype and positive reviews which automatically made it a must see heading into 2020, but I don’t quite think it lived up to the expectations I had set for the movie which was a shame. The plot was relatively straight forward and I certainly wasn’t bored enough to shut the television off, but I don’t think this was a roller-coaster I’d like to board again.
“That’s a million-dollar opal you’re holding. Straight from the Ethiopian Jewish Tribe. I mean this is old-school, middle-earth shit.”Howie Ratner – Uncut Gems