"This is me! This is how I win."
It has certainly been an entertaining ride watching the many dips and swells of Adam Sandler's career. From comedies like Happy Gilmore, to great dramatic performances like Punch Drunk Love, he has proven time and time again that he is a very talented guy. The issue is that he has let himself fall out of the spotlight over the last ten to fifteen years, by constitutionally choosing some of the worst films of each year, on multiple occasions. In what could arguably be the greatest performance he has ever given, Uncut Gems follows charming New York City jeweler, Howard Ratner, who makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. This Adam Sandler driven film may very well be misunderstood classic of the decade. As much as I love the film, I can see how it could be a polarizing experience as well. I’ve heard a lot about the brilliance of Adam Sandler coming into this film and I’m pretty sure I got everything I was expecting. There was no prosthetics, there was no over-the-top accents, but it’s nice enough to see the veteran actor such as himself deliver this kind of performance late in his career. I truly hope he garners more meaty parts such as this going down the line, that boasts a theatrical release and not just a straight to Netflix premiere.
Directed by the Safdie Brothers, Uncut Gems is it tightly wound symphony of chaos delivering gorgeous cinematography that captures all the anxiety and tension that this plot has to offer. I could also say this film felt like a one of those classic 70s dramas set in New York. It had a flavor reminiscent of the classic cinema from wayback when. Benny and Josh Safdie are clearly inspired by the look and feel of the films of the 70s and 80s. One of the highlights of the films, is also it’s compelling score, courtesy of Daniel Lopatin, which seems like something out of the future at the same time. It honestly reminds me of The Hustler as It seem both films center around courting high-stakes, and themes of winning and what it means to be a winner. Ratner must perform a balancing high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win, no matter the cost. We're also treated to the feature film debuts of Kevin Garnett and The Weeknd, who were both given just the right amount to do, to avoid a disastrous first cinematic outing. I feel as though they were tasked with simply portraying a version of themselves just right enough to merge seamlessly with the world set up by our directors.Not too much to say about new comer Julia Fox, who plays Ratners Mistress. She was fine in the role, but I feel it's safe to say she landed the part because she can rock some lingerie, and that's about all she brings to the table. I was shocked to discover, after watching, that the movie is well over two hours. It felt more like 90 minutes due to it quick pace. From the moment the story takes us to NYC, its like we the viewers, are just dropped right in the middle of the action and chaos, with what I think was the intent of the directors. It's actually the kind of filmmaking and storytelling I love.
Uncut Gems is stressful, it's captivating, it's insane, and it's one of the best films of the year 2019, and maybe even the 2010s. See it if you want to witness one actors career rise from the ashes of critical and commercial bombs, like a Phoenix. Sandler really is that good. It is a Ricky Nixx film.