Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Some thoughts:

- Few actors truly inhabit their characters like Sandler does, even in his comedies (many of which are good, for the record) and he is truly at an all-time high here. Sure he gets to yell and scream and have showcase moments, but the way he moves and speaks, like a deranged metal slinky in between a multitude of magnets is truly incredible to watch.

- Not to mention the other performances in the film, which are all excellent. Not sure if the Safdies are just good with non-actors or just generally good directors but everyone here is aces. Julia Fox is a clear standout, and Eric Bogosian is another. Idinah Menzel too! But really there's a palpable sense of interior to all these characters, which makes everything that much more textured.

- It could only end this way. The film is bookended by these journeys into the gem itself as the camera zooms into the crystals, and then the gunshot wound in Howard's face. But the scenes on either end of these zooms: the "creation" of the gem in the Ethiopian mines and the night sky which the credits roll over. Howard is so deluded he doesn't understand the game he's playing and it doesn't matter. Arno too, he shares the same fate as Howard, he "isn't so tough" without his goons. And the ending scene where they’re both killed unceremoniously just how in over their head they were, without realizing it. Arno had been gambling just as much as Howard. They’re both these upper class revellers. And Howard especially just thrives on the chaos, and the reason the “this is how I win” scene is so effective is that it’s almost a self-discovery scene, where he goes for broke, for an all-out high after his lowest-low because this is his true essence. And the ending is so perfectly executed as a revelation of the utter farce of the whole affair, just as the beginning scenes were the unwitting origin of it.

- This film is a great example of "maximalist" style (as much as that's an actual term) that is not so overtly didactic. We get the points, I'm sure, but it prompts introspection and interrogation, and the mise-en-scene is intense and vital and consistently engaging, constantly in conversation with itself.

- Darius Khondji.

- Daniel Lopatin did not have to go that hard but he did

- GREAT costumes and perfect recreation of 2012.

- "Just me and the rock."

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