UNCUT GEMS (2019) – My rating: 9/10

“Uncut Gems” is a crime thriller directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Ronald Bronstein. The movie is well done, kudos to Josh and Benny for working with Adam Sandler in this serious drama, which Adam is not known for. “Uncut Gems” is a fantastic film!

In 2010, an earthquake-like eruption occurs at a mine operated by Ethiopian Jewish workers. During the commotion, two miners retrieve a rare and valuable, black opal embedded in a large piece of rock. Two years later, Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) who runs a jewelry store in New York’s Diamond District, finally receives a package containing the opal, which he plans to auction off at an estimated $1M.  Howard is struggling to pay back gambling debts, particularly $100K to his brother-in-law,  Arno (Eric Bogosian), who is also a loan shark. His private life is split between his employee and mistress Julia (Julia Fox), and his estranged wife Dinah Ratner (Idina Menzel), who has agreed to give Howard a divorce right after Passover. One day, Howard gets a visit to his shop from Basketball player Kevin Garnett. Kevin becomes obsessed with the opal and insists on holding on to it for good luck at his game that night. Howard reluctantly agrees but requests that Kevin loan him his 2008 Championship Celtics ring as collateral. Kevin agrees, and shortly after Howard pawns the ring and places a bet on Garnett’s game that night.

“Uncut Gems” is Adam Sandler at his best.  His character and brilliant performance parallel that of Gary Oldman in “The Professional”, fast-talking and fast wheeling and dealing.  His mood-swing was no swing because he was consistently in crazy mode throughout the entire movie.  It was refreshing to see a real change of pace film that you might even believe.  You will be astonished by the shenanigans that go on in the life of this highly addicted con artist, which leads me to why I am so upset with the Academy for not giving Adam an Oscar nod.  Maybe the movie wasn’t traditional Oscar material but Adam’s performance was certainly worth a nod for Best Actor.  Additionally, the film received critical acclaim, for its screenplay, direction, Adam Sandler’s performance and Darius Khondji’s cinematography, receiving much of the praise. “Uncut Gems” was chosen by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2019 as Sandler also won for Best Actor. He also won Best Actor from the St. Louis Film Critics Association. “Uncut Gems” has become one of A24’s highest-grossing releases, having made $44 million. On the review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 270 reviews, with an average rating of 8.4/10. BTW: Kevin Garnett played himself, his performance was outstanding.  I encourage all adults to see this movie. Check It Out!

 

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