review by Bobby Blakey
For years Adam Sandler has been hit and miss at the box office and more recently made an insane deal with Netflix. While most of the Netflix films have been met with mixed results I have found them all entertaining on some level. His latest, Uncut Gems though looks like something we haven’t gotten from him in some time. The film features a great supporting cast including Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, and Eric Bogosian. Could this offer up another great dramatic performance from Sandler or will it not be worth its price?
Uncut Gems follows Howard Ratner, a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win. I always love when Sandler takes on a more dramatic role, but this is a whole different animal. There was a lot of buzz around award season for his performance here and it is on point. He was robbed from at least an Oscar nomination for this performance because he is that good. Gone is the silly buffoon we get at times or the likeable funny man and instead is a guy who is struggling with addiction, life and that never ending obsession for the big score.
Right out of the gate this story is pure chaos and never lets up. I was a bit worried about the blaring music over the dialogue at the beginning which is always an issue for my hearing issues, but it balances itself out pretty quickly and matches the insanity of the rest of the story and characters. Every decision Howard makes is one you can already see is going to end badly and it just keeps taking him deeper and deeper into the underbelly of it all. This world is something you don’t see a lot of so it was all the more interesting seeing how they interact with each other in the jewelry world.
I was more surprised about how great Kevin Garnett was in the film. He is
only in it for a short time, but sets up the rest of what is going to play out. He steps in like a pro offering up a great performance to really drive it all home. The supporting players including Stanfield and Menzel help to ground it between the two worlds and both bring their A game. The entire thing is like an old school mob movie but in the world of bookies and jewelry. This is easily one of if not Sandler’s best performance of his career and I truly hope this is the start of a new direction for him although I still want some of his silliness to keep infecting the masses. I love this film, but just know there are no redeeming characters, story elements or happiness here and is an insane chaotic ride that may stress some out.
In addition to the film this release offers up a featurette on bringing this film to life. Grab your copy of Uncut Gems available now on Blu-ray. DVD and Digital from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.