Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) owns a jewellery store in New York City. Howard is always trying to find ways to land a big score by getting his hands on expensive jewels or through gambling. After conducting a few trades and putting a large sum of cash on a basketball bet, Howard’s world begins to fall apart right in front of his eyes with multiple problems coming at him at once. Some of the issues include paying off debts, returning loaned items, running a Jewellery store. To top it off, Howard is trying to be a good father and family man.
To my surprise, Uncut Gems is a taut film to watch, mostly due to watching Howard continually make big decisions which generally lead to big problems and dangerous outcomes. The film’s tension only grows as the film progress further. It’s been a while for me since I felt somewhat mentally drained after watching a film. A good movie should always allow its audience to experience feelings and emotions throughout the runtime.
The film’s tension is due to the outstanding performance from leading man Adam Sandler. Sandler (who is best known for typically being a funny man) gives the best performance I have ever seen in his acting career. Supporting characters were also well cast, and all actors give memorable performances.
No matter what your original thoughts are on the main character, as an audience, you’ll find yourself cheering him on, hoping that his situations will somehow turn for the better. I also enjoyed watching Howard overcome each problem only to find he has bigger issues right after. At times Howard needs to juggle and multitask many situations at once. Either way, the performance is dramatic and tense for the full duration.
The script is significant. Uncut Gems has lots of tension between critical characters. Sometimes this involves multiple things happening at once, along with discussions or arguing and yelling between characters. The dialogue feels real, and it’s completely believable.
The film’s audio track was a slightly strange choice for me. Slow sounding trance music for the most parts blends in with the tension and at other moments not so much. Visually I have no complaints, and my issue with the soundtrack is truly minor. The 1st act does have a few little gaps within its details too, especially about setup and plot.
Overall, Uncut Gems allows Adam Sandler fans to witness the actor’s most outstanding performance within his career. It’s a massive change for the leading actor when compared to some of his previous work and films which are typically more focused on comedy. This film is a tense watch, the tension only growing as the movie progresses. Even if you don’t like the leading character, Sandler makes the audience care and cheer him on. There’s lots of magic in this film from start to finish, the tension leaving me feeling drained both emotionally and mentally. And that, movie lovers, is genuinely a positive experience to have in cinema today.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden