That Nomad Shad: When you hear Adam Sandler’s name attached to any project these days, it would be fair to say that you might want to keep your distance. Uncut Gems, proves that Sandler is a solid dramatic actor who needs to branch out from his usual brand of comedy. Uncut Gems is a tense experience that will keep you on the edge of your seat and probably lacking any fingernails by its conclusion.
The story follows Howard Ratner, played by Sandler, an eccentric jeweller with a terrible gambling addiction. Ratner, who is struggling to pay off his debts, comes in possession of a rare black opal, which could potentially solve his financial woes. His addictions drive him to a tightrope act of trying to sell the opal and make some extra money on the side. This leads him down the dark path.
Uncut Gems is an extremely well-directed and acted piece. Building tension throughout Howard’s fall deeper into his addiction. While Ratner may not be the most likeable of people, Sandler injects a charm which makes him his character endearing. He’s that friend that keeps making dumb decisions despite all your advice, but through all of that he still remains your friend. It’s a riveting performance as Sandler’s character slowly cracks under the pressure of his juggling act. Julia Fox is another standout performance as…uhmm…Julia, Ratner’s mistress. The only person that genuinely cares for Howard throughout his ordeal.
The film is well-paced, with it’s two-hour runtime flying by as your nerves are shot to pieces. Uncut Gems is an uncomfortably tense experiences as you witness Ratner attempt to dig himself out of the hole he has dug. The dialogue feels frantic as characters talk over each other and yet it gives it an organic feel to every interaction. The film will have you coming up for air just to make it through to the end.
Uncut Gems is a polished piece of filmmaking and is an excellent look at gambling addiction and its destructive tendencies. Despite winning no awards, Sandler delivers one of the best performances of his career in one of the best thrillers to come out this year.
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