‘Uncut Gems’ Sets Itself Apart As A Stress-Inducing, Loud Mess

© A24

Messy, stress-inducing, loud, in-your-face, and incredibly frustrating. How else do you explain Uncut Gems, directed by Josh and Benny Safdie?

Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) as an enthusiastic and sometimes over-the-top jeweler in New York City who trying to catch a break. With his professional work, family, girlfriend, and ego, there’s a lot for Howard to keep track of. Unfortunately for Howard, he has a gambling problem and owes people a lot of money. He does everything that he can, for better or worse, to solve this problem.

Through a series of bets and promises, Howard makes one decision after another to dig himself out of the hole he created for himself. More often than not, the hole just gets deeper, but he tries to keep these troubles away from his wife, kids, and girlfriend. Until he no longer can, that is.

What the Safdie brothers have created is a frustrating story that has no likable characters. The music, usually loud and out-of-sync with what’s taking place on-screen, adds to the stress and anticipation being created from start to finish. It’s almost non-stop, up to the very last scene, and as the credits roll. But this, of course, is intentional. It’s what these brothers are known for.

Adam Sandler gives an excellent performance, even if you’re left wanting to punch him in the face every time his character makes an irresponsible decision. It’s no wonder that he’s being talked about for nominations this year. It has been said that this is Sandler’s best work to date, and that’s likely very true.

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