Uncut Gems

Let’s get it out of the way fast. Uncut Gems sucks and I hate it. BUT, if you really like art films, ones with a very specific style, you may like this movie. This is a critics’ filmjudging by the reviews. Viewers at the screening I saw were split.

New York jeweler Howard Ratner (Sandler) is a small time scummy guy. He runs a semi-successful jewelry store, loves to make bets, and owes a lot of money. Somehow he gets his hands on a beautiful uncut opal from Africa. Right around the time NBA star Kevin Garnett walks into the room. Howard knows he can get the money, he just needs the time. Also, his marriage is falling apart.

It’s hard to feel anything for Ratner. It’s hard to feel anything for any of these characters. The movie walks the line between drama and odd comedy. Not entirely because of Sandler’s presence, but from directing choices. Uncut Gems is designed for maximum un-comfortableness. Beginning with a soundtrack that’s like 80s synth turned up loud enough to overshadow dialogue. I honestly assumed the theater had sound problems, but I was assured that this was purposeful. This is combined with a dialogue style that I’m describing as mumblecore for movies. Every character tries to talk over each other, with none winning out. It’s a wonder anyone gets anything done in this world.

It’s stressful. And it’s intended stress for you the viewer. I get that. Doesn’t mean I enjoyed the experience for two fucking hours. There’s little to no redeeming qualities in this film, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to anyone nor does it have any re-watchability. And while the final twist is satisfying for someone who hated the experience – it also makes no sense. Why did those guys betray Ratner’s brother? I thought he was their boss? What the hell is going on?

Anyway, Kevin Garnett did fine which is admirable. Adam Sandler’s fake teeth broke any joy for me long before the movie broke my spirit. Uncut Gems is for the art house only.

0 out of 4 stars

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