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Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsTIFF 2019: Uncut Gems Review

Keith NoakesSeptember 11, 201986/100
Starring
Adam Sandler, LaKeith StanfieldJulia Fox
Writers
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Directors
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
Rating
n/a
Running Time
135 minutes
Release Date
n/a
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Uncut Gems is an intense drama with plenty of style which sometimes gets in the way and a terrific lead performance from Adam Sandler.

This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

The breakout hit, Good Time, set the bar pretty high for the brother writer/director team of Josh and Benny Safdie. Their style is definitely still present here in their follow-up film, Uncut Gems, a much different film than Good Time though many will still compare them. Now if there was one word to describe this film, it would be intense and this intensity never relents though it would be tempered somewhat. The aforementioned Safdie brothers style sometimes gets in the way of the story such as the synth score or the look or the overall look of the film.

Uncut Gems was about a celebrity jeweler named Howard Ratner (Sandler) who would find himself in trouble because it wouldn’t be a Safdie brothers film otherwise. Ratner accrued many debts with many unsavory characters who were became increasingly less sympathetic of his situation to the point that his life was in danger. The story saw Ratner struggle to hold everything together including his family, his business, and his other life but over time, these lives became increasingly intertwined. His fate rested in a rare and extremely valuable uncut gem (hence the title) that Ratner hoped would be the answer though in reality, what happened wasn’t as clear-cut (pun intended).

Uncut Gems saw Ratner embark on a crazy adventure through the dark underbelly of New York City that arguably lacked that same level of intensity as Good Time. Additionally, more character development with Ratner would have made for a stronger emotional connection with the character. Nevertheless, Sandler as Ratner was definitely up to the task for everything that was thrown at him in what was a career performance unlike anything he has done at this point (he will surely surprise some audiences). This was undoubtedly his film which he took charge of and never let go.

In the end, Uncut Gems may not shine as bright as but still features a gem of a performance from Sandler, proving that he is capable of doing much more than mediocre comedies.

*still courtesy of A24*


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