With his debts mounting and angry collectors closing in, a fast-talking New York City jeweler risks everything in hopes of staying afloat and alive.
Director: Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie
Starring: Adam Sandler, LaKeith Stanfield, Kevin Garnett, Julia Fox, Idina Menzel, Eric Bogosian, Judd Hirsch, Abel Tesfaye
Information Page: https://www.newonnetflix.info/info/80990663
Adam Sandler is well known for his comedies: from Billy Madison to Mr. Deeds through to his deal with Netflix which brought us The Do-Over and one of the most watched movies on the streaming service, Murder Mystery. Away from comedy ‘The Sandman’, as some people choose to call him, has also dipped his toe into drama with The Meyerowitz Stories, but with “Uncut Gems”, Sandler has dived right into the drama pool. But can he swim?
“Uncut Gems” is a story about Howard, a New York City jeweller who is always looking for the next big thing, or the next big bet – and it’s his gambling that really gets Howard in trouble… Howard discovers a gem that is found in the mines of Ethiopia which, if he is right, can be worth millions. When he finally gets his hands on the gem, he shows it to a customer, who happens to be famous basket player Kevin Garnett (played by himself). Garnett feels a connection to the gem and convinces Howard to let him loan it, leaving a championship ring as a guarantee of its return.
Although Howard is reluctant, he agrees, but instead of looking after Garnett’s ring, he pawns it, using the cash to place a heavy bet on Garnett’s game that night.
Although it’s the first time we see Harold do this, it’s clear pawning and gambling come hand in hand for him. Unfortunately so do losses – and with losses come people that come looking for their money. Howard is in a constant vicious circle of fending off those who want their money back and finding ways to pay them back or buy himself some time.
“Uncut Gems” was uber-hyped along with Sandler’s performance. I think the film was great and I really enjoyed it and I enjoyed Sandler’s performance even though it reminded me of every moment in his past comedies where he was angry with someone. Although in practically every scene, the other cast members are also great especially Julia (Julia Fox) the long suffering girlfriend and Dinah (Idina Menzel) his even longer suffering wife. Also worth a mention is LaKeith Stanfield who plays Demany, a sort of mediator between Howard and people who might want to buy some jewellery.
It’s been well documented that this film is 10 years in the making and, even 10 years ago, Adam Sandler was the person the writers/directors wanted for this role and I think it came at a perfect time in his career. The script is great and the direction is pretty good for two guys with so little experience, but it’s clear it is a passion project for them. The look of the film is great: sparkly, shiny – all things you would expect for a movie about gems, but it also has this dirty, gritty look and feel which can’t be easy to pull off. This film left me with the question of whether or not I liked or disliked the character of Howard and I’m interested to see if you felt the same way as me. Let me know in the comments below.
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