Monday, December 30, 2019

Uncut Gems

"Uncut Gems" is probably the most stress-inducing movie about a person I didn't care for that I've probably ever seen. Adam Sandler is a New York city jeweler who has makes bad decision after bad decision but it's a testament to his performance and the stark direction from Benny and Josh Safdie that is all works somehow. Sandler gets his hands on an extremely valuable, rare rock and instead of paying off the scary loan sharks that want to murder him he makes head-scratching bets on basketball games. He's has driven away his estranged wife (Adele Dazeem herself) and children. He almost drives away his girlfriend/employee who gets roped into his scheming which is all set to a trippy, electronic score and gritty 70s-style camerawork. This is a grim and grimy movie - and odd choice for a wide Christmas release for certain - but you quickly fall under its spell (and feel like you need a shower and blood pressure check afterwards). I admire having to follow around people that were hard to root for and the film truly is a nail-biter all the way to its shocking and inevitably tragic conclusion. Sandler is good here; I'm curious if this film will remain just a critics' pic or will eventually win over Oscar voters.  GRADE: B+

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