Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems ★★★★

This is a tense pseudo-cosmic mystical meditation on money the world over and I really liked it. I was writing a very long review and I walked away for a couple of minutes (because my wife is in labor but c’mon I gotta write this Uncut Gems review, lady. I kept telling her but she insisted I take a break to help her stretch) and I come back and it’s just gone. The review box is empty. No undo, no paste, no idea. It’s as if it had never existed. In the midst of life we are in death, indeed. So let’s hit some bullet points and pour one out for my Pulitzer Prize worthy review. And yes, movie reviews get Pulitzer Prizes. 

• Fuck. It is tense. I spent a lot of the considerable runtime like “ah no no fuck goddammit no why no don’t what are you shit fuck no no why would you ahh Jesus Christ what c’mon no”

• It’s impossible not to compare Sandler’s performance to his performance in Punch Drunk Love, he does so few dramatic roles. Howard is not a precious manchild rageaholic antihero like Barry Egan (PTA, I love ya sometimes but PDL kinda stinks). It’s a bit hard to pin down who Howard really is as we’re watching a mental breakdown coming to a head, we only see extreme highs and lows. I haven’t seen a doomed depressive gambling addict crash and burn into the New York City pavement so spectacularly since Bad Lieutenant. AND Keitel was considered for the role but ultimately deemed too old. As much as I love Harvey, I think it would’ve been too on the nose. Sandler really disappears, though for people who grew up with his tenure on SNL, his movies and CDs, his voice does slip into zany Sandler territory a couple times. 

• Why am I using bullet points and then writing paragraphs? 

•This also reminds me of Night And The City, the original, as I haven’t seen the remake but it’s set in NYC so probably even more relevant. 

• The music in this (Daniel Lopatin, again) is fantastic and while less frenzied than the music in Good Time, the movie itself is so constantly at or approaching fever pitch, it would be overkill to have the score further ratcheting the intensity. There’s a couple of pop songs, Billy Joel and Madonna slammed together in a 2 minute span that seemed totally out of place. It really pulled me out of the movie as I was sat thinking about the significance of those songs and what could have been an emotional scene instead left me perplexed. I don’t know what they’re doing there, they serve no purpose whatsoever and are completely out of place. Maybe I’ll feel different on a rewatch? 

• The effects are cool, I get it, and it does add a new layer to an otherwise straightforward 70’s low-level crime riff but the whole zoom in and through something is a bit late 90’s David Fincher. It’s used better here than fuckin Panic Room or whatever but the association lingered. 

• I’ve never cared about a basketball game before ever, so kudos and fuck you, Safdies.

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