'Uncut Gems' Isn't Just Awards Hype, It's a Total Banger
If you've seen the trailer for 'Uncut Gems' directed by Benny and Josh Safdie (Good Time) then you likely haven't forgotten it. I was lucky enough to see it in a packed theater audience and watch an entire crowd collectively let out different variations of "what the fuck?" Laughing, laughing dismissively, literal "What the fuck?(s)".
A lot of the same types of reactions that I'm sure Howard (Adam Sandler) would have received in real life. Had the movie followed however, it would have pulled the rug out from underneath all of us and slapped us in the face with an "I'M TALKING TO YOU, YA FUCKIN GOON!"
'Uncut Gems' works on multiple levels. There's a fascinating story about a gambler on the surface but how many times have we seen that? He's up, he's down, he's down even worse, he thinks he wins, he's down, he wins in the end or goes straight. The Safdie brothers take that formula and shove its face into a giant mound of cocaine.
Afterwards, they set up a litany of weird, over the top acting by sometimes first time actors and actresses (Julia Fox is going to be a goddamn star) push the whole thing off a cliff and wait to see how it lands. 'Uncut Gems' managed to take a formulaic, albeit fascinating story and still have you sputtering different variations of "what the fuck?" just as the trailer did. For the entire two hour and fifteen minute run time.
In an time where a lot of us are cranking out movies left and right to finish year end lists, 'Uncut Gems' is the type of movie to really get the movie appreciation juices flowing again. This film is fast, cut throat and as a random guy at Waffle House would say "Entertaining as all get out!"
There's a strange underdog story that rises to the top by the end of the film you don't really see coming. At some point during all this madness you take a step back and realize this guy isn't just some degenerate gambler or swindler. He's been forced to eat shit for a really long time. Granted, most of which was self inflicted but nonetheless. He's been pushed around and he doesn't just want to prove something, he wants to step on people's throats. Surprisingly, there's a point in the film where you can really get behind that. It's an impressive feat.
It's not just "Adam Sandler did something serious" or awards season hype. 'Uncut Gems' is a movie that movie fans will enjoy watching. 9.5/10