Uncut Gems

Who wants a blinged-out Furby chain?
7/10 - If you want to get your adrenaline pumping, go see Uncut Gems. What a tense, thrilling, wild movie.
Release Date: 
Friday, January 10, 2020
Written by: 

Adam Sandler gives the performance of his career as a jeweller drowning in debt in Uncut Gems.


Directing duo Josh and Benny Safdie are known for creating intense and stress-inducing films, such as Good Time, but they've taken matters to a whole new level with Uncut Gems.

The movie follows jeweller Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) as he continually makes bad choices, gets himself deeper and deeper into debt, and tries to evade the people he owes.

Howard has multiple people chasing him down to get their money back, which he has probably decided to place on a bet.

He has no escape in his home life either, as he is pretending to his three kids that he's still with their mum Dinah (Idina Menzel), even though he's already got a girlfriend named Julia (Julia Fox).

Howard believes his luck is changing when a rock containing multicoloured opals arrives at his New York City store before being auctioned.

However, in keeping with his streak of making bad decisions, the jeweller chooses to show it off in front of basketball star Kevin Garnett (playing himself) who believes he needs it as a lucky charm and persuades Ratner to let him take it for one game - and isn't in a hurry to give it back.


Uncut Gems is an anxiety-inducing watch. Howard leads an incredibly stressful life that consists of dodging debt collectors and the people he's stolen jewellery from, hunting for the gem and his associate Demany (Lakeith Stanfield), and having arguments with his wife and girlfriend.

You can't imagine how somebody could live a life that chaotic and non-stop and not do more to put an end to it.

As such, Howard is not likeable lead. His choices are bad and won't make much sense to regular Joe's who wouldn't be able to put up with so much daily stress.

He is not sensible or logical and this is most exemplified towards the nail-biting end, which is shocking, thrilling, and will have your adrenaline pumping.

The Safdie brothers are experts in building tension and creating a loud, overwhelming atmosphere that overloads the senses.

There is a lot of shouting, talking over one another, phones ringing non-stop, and people wanting to be buzzed into the store.

Sometimes this all happens at once. The noise can be too much, but it also helps put the audience in Howard's shoes and makes us feel how hectic his life is.

Sandler hasn't done a dramatic role or been taken seriously as an actor in years and Uncut Gems firmly re-establishes his credentials.

It is the best performance of his career and you'll see him in a completely different light.

This film is loud and brash, with heaps of energy, so it won't be an enjoyable viewing experience for some, but the Safdie brothers have created an experience that is distinctly in their style, for better or worse.

Uncut Gems is in select cinemas from 10 January and on Netflix from 31 January.

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