Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Review: Uncut Gems

Release date: December 25, 2019
Running time: 135 minutes
Starring: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett

Adam Sandler is magnificent in his return to serious roles.  He plays hustling Jewish jewelry merchant Howard Ratner as he tries to close the biggest sale of his career while all his past hustles come back to bite him.  Ratner must juggle his family problems, business problems, friends, and enemies in this complex hustle movie.  

The main draw of this film is the genuinely fantastic acting and characters.  Ratner is a driven, but flawed man, with a need to succeed at any cost and an unhealthy belief in his own abilities.  He also has to juggle his family, mainly his wife played by Idina Menzel, and his girlfriend played by Julia Fox.  And through this he has to deal with many crumbling relationships, both familial, business, and personal in his ever present need to win.  Rounding out the cast is his genuine, but somewhat shady, friend / partner played by LaKeith Stanfield and a potential high profile customer in Kevin Garnett.  All of these characters, and more, intertwine in this complex story.  Their interactions are fun to watch, and the various personas at odds with each other really give this film its sparkle.  

However, if you are not interested in a tense hustle, this might not be for you.  The film is a long one, but that is partly because so much is crumbling around Ratner and it is all explored in various subplots.  There is a lot of dialog and drama, but not a lot of action.  And although there is some comedy, it is not what you would expect from a Sandler film.  There is a lot to enjoy in this movie, but if you are coming to this thinking it will be like otehr films Sandler is known for, you will be disappointed.  Additionally, Ratner makes some pretty ridiculous decisions in his need to succeed, some of which are just bone-headed.  However, the character is consistent and Sandler plays it perfectly. 

Uncut Gems is complex, with enough facets to allow its fantastic characters to sparkle brightly. 

Watch It

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