• Strictly Films

UnCut Gems The Safdie Brothers Once Dish Out Another Classic Grade: B+

Source: IMDB

Uncut Gems is the new wild creation from the Safdie Brothers, whom made an acclaimed classic in 2017 Good Time. In this film tells a story about a Jeweler in New York City named Howard (Adam Sandler), who does not only have a gambling issue, but have a issue with paying back people money. Howard next wild bet comes with a stone that came all the way from Ethiopia, in which this stone consists of having colorful gems inside. It’s a rare stone, as Howard is hoping to bank a mill off it. Witness another roller coaster ride from the Safdie Brothers, that’ll have you on the edge of your seat. The Cinematography was pretty solid, felt like a well shot retro style film, simple sets and quite a few memorable glorious shots. The Score was pretty enjoyable as well, very particular different style of music that’s up tempo and techno as well, it compliments the Safdie’s style of film making. The cast of this film all in all were really good as a whole, in fact I’m truly impressed by the Safdie brothers in this film. Disregarding Sandler, Stanfield, and Menzel... Majority of the cast barely have any experience, the fact that the Safdie Brothers brought out everyone’s A-Game in this, with little to no experience in acting was truly outstanding, you can compare the great direction from the Safdie Brothers to Sean Baker and what he accomplished out of his cast in The Florida Project. Adam Sandler playing Howard the crazy gambler, whom is always dropping F-Bombs and can never shut up is great. Sandler does a great job with this role, how he pulls off Howard being a likable character is extremely tough to accomplish. On paper Howard is an annoying selfish man, whom is having an affair, can’t keep his mouth shut and just can’t seem to pay back people’s money, as he just gambles it all the way. From start to finish, despite how this character was written... I rooted for him, like this is still my favorite character in the entire film. Of course credit is owed to The Safdie Brothers, as they yet again made another likable character out of a complete asshole, like they did with Robert Pattinson’s character in Good Time. But to me Adam Sandler brings the charm and likability out of this character, as we somehow feel sorry for this character and just want him to get out of the hole he currently is in. I think people whom are surprised by Sandler’s performance, really hasn’t been paying attention to his entire filmography. I know he’s the face of goofy comedies, that some are acclaimed good films, but some are just a straight up embarrassment. But if you never seen Spanglish, The Meyerowitz Stories, Men Women and Children, and especially Punch Drunk Love... You wouldn’t be surprised by the caliber of this performance, because Sandler is pretty underrated as an actor, he just rather be making 20+ mill to make a stupid comedy and honestly I can’t blame the dude. Since it’s award season I do feel Sandler is getting robbed for nominations he rightfully earns, hopefully the Oscars makeup for it we’ll see. Howard’s side piece love interest Julia played by Julia Fox was pretty good, was pretty impressed this is her first major role, she really complimented the dysfunctional relationship fling with Howard. Idina Menzel playing Howard’s ex wife played a good performance, nice to see her outside of the Frozen franchise for a change. Kevin Garnett playing himself was honestly solid, was not expecting an actual well executed acting display from KG himself, but he felt like he was locked in for the challenge in front of him as he was definitely having fun on screen. I do have my flaws with Uncut Gems believe it or not. One of them being Sports Logic. In one scene when Howard was watching the Celtics 76ers Game 3 of the playoffs, it was clear the game was on TNT. But Howard informed her ex wife to turn on ESPN to watch the game. It seems like a small flaw to point out, but it happens yet again with another scene. So Game 4 of the Celtics 76ers game occurs either Friday or Saturday, the auction was on Monday. Garnett gets the stone back for Game 7 right after the auction on Monday... How did we jump to three games of the series in three days?! Now if we were talking baseball playoffs, this scenario could possibly happen, due to the fact they play back to back games in the playoffs and the series is granted one day off. But for post season in basketball it’s played quite different, when a game is played the series gets granted a day off or maybe two and then play the next games of the series right after that. As a sports fan you can see why I have such a problem with the films lack of logic for sports, I mean the Safdie Brothers are Knicks fans so maybe they just forgot how it all worked?! Because ya know?! The New York Knicks haven’t been in the playoffs in almost a decade, because they suck? At some points in the film you can say it slows down it’s high speed momentum, when you just want the film to keep up it’s fast paced momentum and never letting up. Some side plots appear then disappear. Like Howard having to be mentioned that The Weeknd’s Jesus Piece needs to be returned, as it never comes back to play in this film, there has been a couple moments similar like that in this film like that. I watched Uncut Gems twice before writing this review. The first time I saw it with a buddy of mine, after being finished with the film, I wanted to rush back in and watch it again. However I didn’t due to the fact I had Little Women to watch next, so I waited a few days to see it again. Having watched this film twice now I can honestly say this is yet another classic from the Safdie Brothers, Good Time is slightly better but this one is very close. I loved the story of this film because it’s accurate towards the source material, of one that is addicted to gambling. I mean I’ve seen it at hand many times as I live in Las Vegas for crying out loud, this is exactly the behavior of a typical gambler, whom seems to have bad luck. I love the fact I get another adrenaline rush out of this film, like I was on the edge of my seat a few times, including the last bet Howard made. The film is also quite funny, solid comedy material and I was absolutely dying laughing toward Howards behavior on games he bet on. Though at times it takes it’s time and didn’t fully engage in full force in pacing, it’s still another fun exciting roller coaster ride from the Safdie Brothers as I can’t wait to see what is next for these guys after this. Overall, UnCut Gems is a great film. I highly recommend checking this out, definitely support the Safdie Brothers because they are on another level in cinema. -Mitch Smietana

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