Howard Ratner, a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score, makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime.
ActorsStarring: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel, Kevin Garnett, Judd Hirsch, The Weeknd, Tilda Swinton, John Amos, Trinidad James, Eric Bogosian, Marcia DeBonis, Pom Klementieff, Jeremy Sample, Hailey Gates, Noa Fisher, Anthony Mecca, Jake Ryan, Natasha Lyonne, Sahar Bibiyan, Josh Ostrovsky, Robbie DeRaffele, Warren Finkelstein, Keith Williams Richards, Thomas Kominik, Maksud Agadjani, Ca$h Out, Andrea Linsky, Roman Persits, Paloma Elsesser, Mike Francesa, Gerard "Dash" McQuiller, Darien Howard, Jonathan Aranbayev, Todd Vulpio, Ronald Greenberg, Marshall Greenberg, Michael A. Sollecito, Sean Ringgold, Damany Eastman, Jacob Igielski, Shemsi Selimaj, Arthur Borukhov, Stuart Wenig, Mitchell Wenig, Mesfin Lamengo, Sun Zhi Hua-Hilton, Sunny Wu Jin Zahao, Liang Wei-Hui-Duncan, Daneke Muhugeta, Habtunu Africho, Raleem Moses, Keren Shemel, Max Bartos, Louis Anthony Arias, Aren Topian, Lino Eisenberg, Shiv Pai, Kerwin Frost, La Mar Taylor, William Sappe, Greg Yuna, Victor Plajas, Ricky Barksdale, Jennifer Venditti, Larry 'Ratso' Sloman, Benjy Kleiner, Svetlana B. Levitin, Roza Babekova, Jessica Mullayev, Izra Malakov, Brad Davidorf, Ralph Colucci, Marty Tendler, Conor Coyne, Alexander Gilkes, Jennifer Sacks, Wayne Diamond, Debbie DeLisi, Chad Neves, Ara Daglian, Glenn "Doc" Rivers, Erika Wachter, Paige Neuenschwander, Cassie Prusiensky
A friend once said to me that every comedic actor has one great serious role in them. Uncut Gems is that role for Adam Sandler. Everyone knows him as a comedian whether it is from his SNL days, his more well-known comedies from the late-90s/early-2000s like The Wedding Singer and The Waterboy, or his more lackluster films from recent years like Pixels or Jack and Jill. Which makes Uncut Gems very, very different from all his previous work. And that, in turn, makes the amazing quality of the film even more mind-boggling.
This movie was absolutely thrilling. No part of the film felt dull; it was a ride from start to finish. Everything feels so high-stakes and full of energy (which some of it actually is and other times it isn’t) that you can feel Sandler’s character Howard Ratner’s anxiety throughout the film. The pacing makes it difficult to ever see exactly where the film is going next. Every turn around the next corner could bring something unknown and surprising. Or it could be mundane with some relative normalcy. Uncut Gems is one of the few films I have seen that could be described as just “gritty” instead of “dark and gritty”.
Sandler’s character Howard goes through a lot throughout the film. Money problems, business problems, marital problems, gambling problems, issues with his kids, and so much more. While his exact circumstances are extreme, most of these issues are problems that are relatable. His methods of dealing with these problems are not great and being such a flawed character is largely what makes Howard work. There are instances where his issues are solved or left hanging through his own efforts and other times when the situation is just completely out of his control. Nothing here is picturesque and it feels all the more real because of that.
Films with the protagonist being a terrible person have seen increased popularity (namely Joker) within the last few years and Uncut Gems seems to really touch on that. Howard tries to do the right thing, but that is an issue because he is not a good person. What he considers “the right thing” is not always what most other people would consider the right thing to be. He struggles with inner demons and relationship issues as his flaws cause every aspect of his life to spiral out of control. And seeing it happen is a roller coaster of a ride the whole way.