Sunday 12 January 2020

Uncut Gems by Benny & Josh Safdie

There’s a mysterious pull that emanates from Uncut Gems, at once a cosmic and microscopic power that seems to orchestrate the chaotic thrills of Adam Sandler’s Howard Ratner. Josh and Benny Safdie follow up their manic midnight caper, Good Time (2017), with this addictive carnival centered around a New York jeweler.

This is Adam Sandler returning to arthouse cinema with a story that's like the Book of Job as a gambling drama, or a Seinfeld episode as an action movie -- it’s a dirty joy to behold. Through a stunning and humorous visual metaphor that opens the film, we understand that it is in Howard’s DNA to seek out riches; not for the result, but for the act of desiring, of trying to reach the end of the maze where it’ll all be clean and finished. It also very literally tells us that Howard is an awful person.