Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is a once successful New York gems dealer whose gambling addiction has left his family and career in shambles, and him hundreds of thousands in debt. Always looking for the next big bet, Howard thinks he finally hit it big when he discovers a rare uncut rock of Ethiopian gems, with a very interested high-profile buyer. But the closer Howard gets to finally winning big, the more he is forced to realize he can't keep running from the consequences of his actions.
Written and Performed by Billy Joel
Courtesy of Columbia Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Entertainment See more »
"You're the most annoying person I've ever known"
They should hand out high-grade blood pressure meds to people going to see this after it ends. The major strength and in a way the slight weakness of Uncut Gems is how laser-focused the Safdies are in conveying total anxiety, stress and mania through this extreme act of full cinema SOUND (levels of acting and over-lapping dialog, that Vangelis-Blade-Runner-on-Steroids/Crystal Meth score, some of the cinematography and the tracking of the camera).
I do wish there was a little more than just flourishes of relief, though I'd be lying if I said Sandler was anything but exceptional and riveting playing degenerate crumbling right before our eyes. While Eric Bogosian, Lakeith Stanfield and Kevin Garnett and many others here are natural solid, it's Sandler's show, and it's soulful and tense and harrowing and ultimately (as terrible as Howard can be) tragic. The filmmakers's greatest achievement from the looks of this and Good Time is finding star-actors who aren't known for their wide range and getting career-triumph work from them. If the movie isn't all that complex, I do think Howard is and that helps make this pretty special as a depiction of addiction, more than anything else. It's got grit and style to burn, which is mostly fine by me.
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