Adam Sandler is a banger!
I got excited the moment I found out this movie would be released on Netflix. For a non-streaming service studio movie, still screening in the US, I did not expect to see it until next year or later this year at most. Apparently, Netflix nabbed the international distribution rights to the movie, which means free to watch anywhere else outside the US of A.
Although I promised inconsistency, I knew I just had to write something on this movie, as the leading actor, Adam Sandler, has always been one of my favourite actors, if not my favourite. This dude is so underrated. Due to the
inconsistency that I promised, I had to watch this so late at night, after a long school day, preceding an exam week, with loads of other tasks which I pushed aside just so as to to stay on top of the hype.
So, here is what you need to know about Uncut Gems:
Uncut Gems is a movie starring Adam Sandler, as a fast-talking New York Jeweler, Howard Ratner, who just can not make right life choices as straightforward as they seem due to his huge gambling addiction. This man has got a huge problem; addiction, which does not seem to be yielding positive results. However, he is fortunate to land a rare gem that he’s been courting for months. This has presented him a clear way out of his present troubles, but this only gets him tangled up in more mess which leads to more mess that would be solvable if only he is not trying to be
greedy smarter. I have seen movies depicting addiction, in the forms of drugs and alcohol. But this one with gambling just hits different. As a family man with three kids, and an A+ wife, you would think he would look back and do the right thing for once. But, no. It is a movie, and it ends the moment he does the right thing. We do not want no short film here. We are gunning for Best Picture, baby (Spoiler Alert: the film got no Oscar nomination, puh!)
Uncut Gems feels like a culmination of all the characters Adam had played in the past, which I have all loved, considering those that I have seen. We have got the family man, the fast talking trash talker, the one who always gets punched in the face, the eccentric one, who trouble always seems to follow. All of these character traits feature in his movies such as Click, Grown Ups, Blended, all the way to his 2019 Murder Mystery which all have him as a family man and unsurprisingly have all been poorly reviewed by critics. Uncut Gems was perfectly written for him and he delivers by bringing a bit from his other ‘trashy’ movies into this one gem. Alongside Sandler is Idina Menzel starring as his wife, Lakeith Steinfeld being himself and being all out for himself as a witty marketer, and a few first timers who all fit into their respective roles, with a guest appearance by The Weeknd playing an upcoming musician.
Uncut Gems moves at a very fast pace as Adam Sandler’s character is under a timer to repay those he owes. At the same time, he is entering into deeper problems when it feels like he is close to being out of one. As a viewer, you get to feel this anxiety with him as the pace of the movie holds on over the course of the movie, until the final shot. You can always tell what he would do next, but you can only hope it would lead him out of the tunnel. The pace at which this movie progresses is aided by the chosen background music which is laced with synth vibes which you can not just get out of your head. This sometimes could be distracting alongside the disco colours which the film generates. This was all done to create emotions of uneasiness and strain in the audience which it does spectacularly because I could feel like Howard’s problems were mine throughout the movie. Unfortunately, this is the part that affects your night sleep and brings me again to remind you not to watch this before bedtime (in case you missed the headline). Watch this on a Sunday evening or Friday evening before a night out.
A major theme in the movie is the character’s battle with addiction and how it affects those around the addict: from loyal business partners who mean well, to family members and the addict themselves. It all revolves around them. He does not seem to be conscious of his habit and only means well to make more money in order to get back on track. This character, although honestly unlucky at times, is always enticed by the bigger winnings, neglecting how much he is actually putting in; talking about resources more than money, like, time, love of those around him and risk.
Adam Sandler courts this special gem for months (from the mining area in Ethiopia) which he believes would be the way out from all of his problems, but his life built on deceit and lies would not make things work as his addiction for the bigger winnings replaces his actual love for life. He would prefer to die just to get out of all of his mess, rather than throw in the towel while alive, as he sounded less than relief when he finds out that his cancer results came out negative. More like “If I am not dead, then I keep playing the game, baby”.
Although the movie is intended to be a dramatic take on gambling addiction as a vice, but you can not just help but laugh at this character’s shortcomings while feeling irritated at the same time like “if only he would make this his last one”. But the easy way ain’t fun.
Creditors who he owes are people who have known him to be this addicted fellow, but they also can not just help but keep doing business with him because this is the kind of people they prey on; people who do not pay attention to the red light, people who think the next one would be the big thing and who think that nabbing that last huge juicy winning would be when they hang their boots. But sadly, that end never comes most times.
At the end, people who live these ‘larger than life’ lives always have people around them and it is those around humans like these, who pay for the deeds of their loved ones directly or indirectly. Is an addict useful (to those around them) being alive or dead, most especially in the case of a money-making one? Seen Uncut Gems? What did you think about it, what did you like and what did you hate? Also, let me know what you think about the Oscar snub.