The Safdie Fucking Brothers! Wow! Again, they smash it out of the park, with this anxiety fuelled thrill ride, featuring Adam Sandler like you’ve never seen him before. This performance should definitely be in the conversation surrounding the best performances of the year. No doubt! Uncut Gems is a NO holds barred thriller that doesn’t give you a second to catch your breath.
Obviously, we all saw and loved Good Time a few years ago. This really cemented Josh & Benny Safdie as directors to watch with intent. If you haven’t seen their previous film, Heaven Knows What, I highly recommend sourcing it out. While not as polished as their more recent films, it certainly has the hallmarks they are becoming known for. Heaven Knows What is definitely the rawest film they’ve done, and it’s impressive to see what they can do with a tiny budget.
What the Safdie brothers do so well, is they create an ultra-realistic setting, and just drop you in. Set in a Midtown New York Jewellery markets, Howard is an owner and trader. He also seems to have a gambling and money problem that’s catching up with him fast. He’s chasing a big win to try and pay back some heavy hitters.
You’re thrown straight into the environmental chaos the Diamond District of New York has to offer. The setting is frantic and with a technique of having dialogue overlapping dialogue it gives you the sense that it’s all ad-libbed. It feels like it can’t be scripted, edging you into a false pretense of realism. The film doesn’t let up either, building the tension with dramatic effect.
Adam Sandler is as I said, outstanding. Playing the edge of loveable and loathsome with perfection. Julia Fox, a first-time actor is another real highlight of this film. She plays Howard’s girlfriend and she really shines whenever she’s on-screen. Amazing find by the Safdie’s.
Uncut Gems is a thrilling ride! A tense, frenetic, emotionally charged thrill ride, that only when the credits roll, will you notice you haven’t had enough oxygen in the last 2 hrs 15. Time to breathe!
One of the best films of 2019.
Hits Netflix worldwide (excluding US) January 31.