Movie Spotlight: “Uncut Gems”: A look at the 2019 thriller, “Uncut Gems.”

Looking for a movie with non-stop action that keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats? “Uncut Gems” is exactly that in the 2019 drama and crime classic.

Directed by the Safdie brothers Josh and Benny, and written by Ronald Bronstein, “Uncut Gems” displays the life of a 2012 New York jewelry store owner Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler). Howard is a fast-talking businessman addicted to the thrill of gambling. Unfortunately, his addiction gets him into more trouble than he could handle, and runs into collectors who have no patience for his antics, including his brother-in-law Arthur. On thin ice, Howard’s luck could take a change for the better, as a golden opportunity presents itself.

Howard’s partner Demany sets up a meeting with Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett; originally luring him in for a watch before a playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers. However, a long-awaited package arrives from Ethiopia. Excited, Howard leaves Demany and Kevin for a moment to unravel the gem from the box. He then comes back to the front of the shop to show Kevin this gem. Kevin instantly gets hit in a trance from looking at this gem and then tells Ratner his desire for this gem. However, due to wanting the rock, Kevin asks if he can borrow it for the game. Kevin’s plea is reluctantly accepted by Howard, so Kevin gives his 2008 championship ring as collateral. 

The film explores more of Horward’s home life, including the highs and lows with family (including both his wife and mistress), debt, relationships, and business, eventually doubting himself. With his only hope being the gem in the hands of a star. From beginning to end, it is filled with twists and turns.

One great aspect of the film is that Sandler played his role well. Howard might be annoying, but his acting for this role was exceptional. He completely embodied the personality of a New York jewelry store owner, unfaithful husband, and gambling addict. Through all of the lows Howard hits, Sandler’s portrayal of emotion allows viewers to sympathize with a bad character. 

Another is how extremely unpredictable it gets throughout the film. Howard’s expectations and plans didn’t work or were stopped in their tracks. The story not allowing him to win stayed true to his character. He wants to rebuild relationships with his soon-to-be ex-wife and kids, pay off debts, and do business with Garnett. The buildup leads to a great climax towards the movie’s end, making Howard feel practically invincible.

Lastly, the great list of cast members outside of Sandler and Garnett in this film shouldn’t go unnoticed. Julie Fox, Idina Menzel, LaKeith Stanfield, Eric Bogosian, and more played their roles well. These characters’ antics make Howard’s world into a living nightmare.

“Uncut Gems” is timed at two hours and fourteen minutes, but it will keep you entertained as both a stressful and exciting watch. However, the movie’s popularity is significantly shown as its trailer has accumulated 12 million views at the time of this article on YouTube, and has been heavily featured on Netflix’s popular section. “Uncut Gems” also won critics over; currently holding  a 91% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Give Sandler credit, as “Uncut Gems” is the actor’s highest-rated feature-length film on the website by a wide margin (12% higher than “Punch Drunk Love”). 

“Uncut Gems”  is available to stream on Netflix. 

Sources: Netflix, Rotten Tomatoes, YouTube

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