Starring- Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Lakeith Stanfield, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel
Uncut Gems (2019) available on Netflix is a nice, little surprise. Adam Sandler, the perennial comedian of Hollywood takes a U-Turn and turns into a gambling addict crooked businessman dealing with gems. It is not the first time you see him shedding the comedian tag and doing something meaningful though. Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Punch Drunk Love,” or Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories” are the movies where he scored fair points for doing something meaty.
Directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, this plot is spread across the time length of a couple of days wherein the protagonist is set to recover his gambling debts by placing monstrously risky bets. So, it is all about the vicious cycle of greed and its consequences. The title is very much straightforward and at the same time metaphoric. The Uncut Gems are indeed dazzling at the center of the earth and at the same time burning the core of the protagonist Howard. He is a mere spectator as his life falls apart. His family life is in the ruins, his professional life has taken a bloody turn and everything is about to be torn apart. Howard tries his luck in order to rescue the sinking ship and repair the bridges he himself has burnt. And there actually you feel for Howard. Irrespective of all his vices, you get to develop a soft corner for him.
Adam Sandler delivers one of the best performances of his career in this sleeper hit. He is in a state of utter confusion, absolute delusion where he fails to differentiate good and bad, what he should do and what he should not. Sandler’s rock-solid performance makes the character so much believable that you wonder why on earth this guy doe not get offers like this. Julia Fox as Howard’s kept, Idina Menzel as Howard’s wife, Lakeith Stanfield as Howard’s not-so-trusted middleman all do fine jobs. NBA megastar Kevin Garnett playing himself was a sweet surprise. Camera works provide the necessary creepiness that the film needed every moment. The background scores are loud, cacophonous and very much in sync with Howard’s delusional state of mind.
Even though most of the critics were unanimous in giving thumbs up to this precious gem, the viewers were broadly divided in their opinions. Some of them even gave this a status of a cult film while so many rejected it as trash. Indeed, if you are looking for a rosy, couch soothing film, this is not to be on your platter. But if you want something different, if you want to witness how an otherwise mediocre actor Sandler transports himself to a different level altogether this is definitely going to find a place in your watchlist.
My rating- 7 out of 10.
Available on Netflix
Read my review of Lost In Space (Netflix) here
Read the review of Money Heist here