By James Davidson
“Uncut Gems” is a movie starring Adam Sandler that was released in December of 2019. It was recently released on the streaming service, Netflix. Adam Sandler plays Howard Ratner, a slick talking New York City jeweler with a gambling problem who has amassed a lot of debt to the wrong people. With angry debt collectors hounding him, Howard concocts a risky last ditch effort to appease his debtors and keep his life and his jewelry store.
I had heard a lot of very good things about this film and was very excited to see it. I was very happy to see it released on Netflix relatively soon after its theatrical release and was looking forward to watching it. I was expecting a silly, fast paced crime drama, similar to “Reservoir Dogs”, or “Snatch”. I was expecting it to be a little on the silly side since it was starring Adam Sandler. What I watched was much more in depth and more genuine than I was expecting.
Adam Sandler’s performance was pleasantly more serious and unadulterated than I was anticipating. While the character still had a “Sandleresque” quality to him, he was much more realistic and authentic than Sandler’s usual roles. While the character was still a bit on the parody side, Sandler still showed impressive acting range by being able to believably pull off this more serious role than is typical of him. All of the other actors did an amazing job as well. I was particularly impressed with NBA star Kevin Garnett, Garnett had a small but important part in the film, playing himself. I was impressed with most of his scenes as he showed considerable skills as an actor, much better than other professional athletes that have played in movies I have seen.
The writing really impressed me and drew me into the movie, it added a lot of depth to some already well rounded characters. While Howard tended to be a pompous jerk through a lot of the film, the writers did a great job at making you connect emotionally with the character as his life was falling apart around him. Most of the characters were very relatable and added depth to an already complex story. Some of the characters did seem a bit over the top at times, especially Howard, but not unbelievably so. I was a little disappointed in the way that some of the characters were introduced however. One or two characters just seemed to pop up without any explanation about who they were or how they were related to certain other characters in the story. There were also one or two characters that seemingly had no purpose in the story and I was a bit confused as to why they were introduced at all.
I really enjoyed the plot of this movie. It was pleasantly complex and layered enough to hold my attention, yet not too complex so that I had a hard time following it. The movie is two hours and fifteen minutes long and I was slightly worried that the film would drag on in some places, but the movie is wonderfully paced and doesn’t seem that long at all. The story kept me engaged the entire time and my mind didn’t wander at all.
This movie is rated R for pervasive strong language, violence, some sexual content, and brief drug use. It would not be appropriate for young children, but would be a great movie to enjoy for a night in with your significant other, or a great film for a relaxing night to yourself.
“Uncut Gems” is a pleasantly complex story where Adam Sandler leads a great troupe of actors in a fantastic performance. It has some fun characters and is a wild ride that will keep you guessing until a surprising ending that will leave you stunned. It is a refreshingly original story and I recommend it to anyone looking for a good movie for a movie night with friends or alone. I will definitely be watching this movie again. It earns 4.5 out of 5 stars.