Lee, or El Duderino, if, you're not into the whole brevity thing’s review published on Letterboxd:
"They say you can see the whole universe in opal...I mean, this is old-school, Middle-Earth shit."
To say that this film is a trip would not do it enough justice. While I wasn't the biggest fan of Good Time - and I do plan to revisit it in a better mood -, I more than acknowledged and admired the Safdie brothers' perfect grasp on high-octane fluid chaos. Having only seen these two films regardless, it's clear to see that the Safdies emulate the equivalent rush that one achieves from a hit of cocaine...including both the invincible highs and the regrettable lows. And you know what, I'm just willing to...bet that this is their best film to date (and will be for a hot minute). It really felt like an original passion project for the Safdies, as it compiled everything they've demonstrated previously to such a higher and far more perfected degree. I'm so glad they dropped out of the mainstream studio stint with the unexpected 48 Hours remake. If anything, a Beverly Hills Cop remake with Lakeith would have been the way to go. But the brothers said it best in their interview, "We only know how to do our ideas". Uncut Gems is exactly that! This is one of the best scripts in terms of how naturally fluid it unravels, forcing us to literally follow the voices as the camera frantically tries to keep up with the larger than life characters. It looks better, it sounds better, it feels better, and smoothly courses through our veins so much stronger.
Uncut Gems literally starts us off with a grounding breath of the blood gems trade. In a single glance through the the brilliance of the raw black opal, the hypnotic Daniel Lopatin (0PN) score kicking in like the night drive convertible heroine shooting sequence in Pulp Fiction, Uncut Gems literally transports us through the infinite and straight out of Adam Sandler's glorious anus. It may be too early to say, but Howard "Bling" Ratner the Jeweler with the hardest drip in the NYC, might be Sandler's best role to date. To see him paid dust throughout the entire awards season is as infuriating as Uncut Gems not utilising The Weeknd's perfectly appropriate "Blinding Lights" (which I know wouldn't be time accurate).
The pure anxiety that this film exudes is amazing! My eyes and ears were transfixed to the entire experience. Everything from the dynamic performances that constantly overlap one another, the life or death stakes of Howie's hubris, down to the tiny minutia. Regardless of having moments of serious health and well-being concerning risks, I found that my nerves were bursting in the most basic moments like trying to open a magnetic door, saving exotic fish from the fish tank, or sitting at a family dinner table. The entire film is over two hours, and it's nothing short of 100% exhilarating from start to finish. The performances from well known names like Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Adele Dazeem, and even Kevin Garnett, all the way down to the unknowns and first timers are firing on all cylinders. Julia Fox is a complete breakout Queen worth all the migraines and betting all your money away on, and both Arno and his right hand thug were pure delights when on-screen! I would have loved for Tilda Swinton's cameo to be fleshed out more, perhaps in an office confrontation. I'm not kidding when I say that every element of the film just blends together so well, creating an unforgettable trip that will leave your eyes squinting as you reach climax with the one and only, Sandman.
Underneath all this bliss, I really appreciated the attention to addiction. Close up shots of all these eccentric characters being fully engulfed by their vices are extraordinarily powerful and perfectly capture the slippery supstitious slope that is it entails. Scenes that directly focus on the transformative nature of our obsessions ripping us apart from our lives and causing us to risk it all for even a slight chance at "making it", however subjective and ridiculous it may be. Furthermore, the superstition of gambling and the power of a good luck charm, whether it be the precious gem or a goddess like Julia Fox, is so lusciously presented. The specific discussion between bloody nose Bling and KG about how to win, was golden. The conviction of the gambler's creed is perfectly embodied by Adam Sandler's live-wire performance. Paired with the improved upon direction and the newly joined crisper and better lit cinematography from Darius Khondji creates the most intense roller-coaster I've ridden in years.
Film Twitter could not keep it in their pants with this film, and now that I've visited KMH Jewelers myself, I agree. I'm just thankful that it somehow was not spoiled for me! If there was a Mount Rushmore of characters for 2019, Howie Bing would boldly be represented with the price tag on his Gucci shirt, bedazzled/gilded Ferbie, apparently unbreakable glasses, and all. Uncut Gems has so many memorable scenes and lines, to use as reaction gifs and memes, that it'll forever live on in glory beyond being one of the best films I've seen. And despite having seen a lot of them on my time line, the ear to ear grin when they play out is oh so pleasurable. The scene in the car where Howard sees how many points and rebounds KG scored for game one, zooms in, and straight up cums in his pants, is pure gold. I could not stop laughing at this highly gif-able/meme moment.
By the time this ride releases it's diamond studded ringed clutch from you, it's undeniable to not feel the adrenaline perspiring from your entire body. Of all the gems in the showroom, this one shines the most; of all the jewelers in the world, none puts the "Jew" in "Jeweler" as much as Adam Sandler. This is probably the most mainstream and best Jewish film ever. Howie Bing will live on as one of the greatest cinematic Jewish characters. This is undeniably his objective best performance. You can stick your PDL in your trunk, naked and afraid. This is how I win.
PS - How dare the Safdies not use Pom Klementieff to her full capacity. Release the Pom cut!