Directed by Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie
Written by Ronald Bronstein, Josh Safdie. And Benny Safdie
Staring: Adam Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Mendel, Julia Fox and Eric Bogosian
Uncut Gems is a lesson on how to throw away your life. Adam Sandler plays Howard Ratner who is the worst schester possible. He cons everyone and anyone that will listen to him. Doesn’t matter who it is they are getting played. The whole movie is a downward spiral based on all the choices he makes.
Howard makes all the bad choices and when the opportunity comes to make it right he goes the wrong way. He has destroyed his life in every way possible. It amounts to nothing as everything falls apart and he loses it in the end. There is no redemption for him as he places his faith on the wrong bets. He doesn’t care if you’re family. Bottom line, if you have something he needs he will try and talk you out of it.
The movie has a strong cast and it shows as each actor plays their role perfectly. To me the stand-out was Lakeith Stanfield as Demany. The Oscar buzz for Sandler is somewhat justified considering the type of movie Uncut Gems was but it felt like an Academy Award trap. Yet the supporting cast are the ones who were truly robbed of the Oscar.
Writers and Directors Josh and Benny Safdie created a good cautionary story. The mixtures of themes found similar in The Wolf of Wall Street about finishing while on top. It was an original outing but the comparisons were hard to ignore.
The film had some glaring issues as the music seemed out of place and was trying to encapsulate a Into a Void trance. The intro and outro felt jarring and didn’t accomplish anything to hype or build the movie. The haphazard jumping of time was disorienting as we couldn’t establish a sense of what day it was.
Uncut Gems was a hard watch as it was cringy with all the choices Howard was making. No one was safe from the hell that Howard rained down upon anyone in arms length. It is a cautionary tale of what happens when you are in over your head and screw over the wrong people.