I haven’t really watched much of Adam Sandler’s comedy, because I can tell it’s not for me. This looked pretty cool though and he did a really good job in Punch-Drunk Love of playing a more dramatic role, so I decided to give Uncut Gems a shot.
Worth saying too before I definitely get into the review that the Safdie Brothers (here the directors and co-writers) previously did brilliantly in helming the raw yet hypnotic movies Heaven Knows What and Good Time (the latter staring a jazzed-up Robert Pattison). And their skill all feels like it culminated with this film.
The story’s about a jeweller+gambler Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) receiving quite a rare gem who lends it to a client but then faces enormous pressure to get it back. I reckon the reason Sandler was cast is because I can tell his comedy lies in playing complete goofballs who you watch throughout anyway (his fans think that at least). And Ratner’s quite an unlikeable character but he’s in 99% of the film so if you don’t feel like watching him, Uncut Gems fails. Yet by borrowing his strength in playing relatable goofballs and twisting that into one of a complete jerk, both the Brothers and Sandler were very smart.
Indeed, such is the film’s control over its tone that despite being 2 hours 10 you’re hypnotised to watch it throughout (this despite me watching it in Netflix, which is essentially how it’s been distributed aside from in America). That’s only where I have a criticism actually, because though for once there’s a real skill in pulling off tone achieved, admittedly a few minutes towards the end I got a bit bored. Yet I don’t know how they could have got around that, so I’ll let the filmmakers off!
This review may sound like a gush-piece by the way but that’s only because per my taste, I genuinely loved this film! Sandler should have been Oscar-nominated but then again the Academy wouldn’t let that happen 😛 (though in fairness Parasite just won Best Picture, another film I adored!)