Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems ★★★

An easy film to admire, but a difficult film to love for me. Really loved the technical aspects of this, as Josh and Benny Safdie are easily some of my most respected modern American directors. I really enjoyed the naturalistic dialogue and claustrophobic camerawork in the previous two films of theirs, but their auteurist style seems much more restrained here. Not necessarily a bad thing, but I would have liked to see more of their trademarks showcased, as their formal dexterity isn’t really on display to the extent I would have liked.

My other central point of contention here being my immense frustration with our protagonist, Howard Ratner. As with many films featuring unlikeable protagonists, I found a lot of difficulty finding the energy to care much for his continuous downward spiral, as he’s really the central cause of all of his failures throughout the film. You spend much of the runtime watching him making one bone-headed decision after the other, which made it impossible to emphasize with his mistakes. Because I wasn’t very invested, I spent much of the film stressed not with the chaotic nature of his situation, but with how little the film was actually affecting me.

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