Uncut Gems: A Review of a Criminally Underrated Movie


Still image of Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner (Photo Credit: movies.mxdwn.com)

Gavin Clingham, Staff Writer

Many people have heard of Adam Sandler. For most kids, he’s pretty big. He’s made multiple comedies in the past. For some people, he’s beloved, but he’s hated by the rest. Critics have constantly torn each of his films to shreds the second they came out. One year, his film won every single possible award at the Razzberry Awards, the award show for the worst movies of the year. Because of the hate thrown at these movies, Sandler often gets accused of being a terrible actor. This year, he began to receive a lot of buzz when he played a serious role in the film Uncut Gems. After seeing it, I can say Adam Sandler is definitely not a terrible actor. 

Uncut Gems follows a jewelry store owner named Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), who has a family but spends more time in an apartment he owns with his mistress Julia (Julia Fox). He’s a gambler who’s in an immense amount of debt from incredibly high-stake bets. Mainly he bets on basketball games and sells his jewels to some of the players. After being pressed about all the money he owes, he finally gets a rock called Black Opal that he believes is worth around a million dollars. Around this time, his latest client, Kevin Garnett (actually played by Kevin Garnett), gets interested in this rock and wants to borrow it. Throughout the film, Howard juggles getting the rock back, keeping his family out of the picture, and dodging loan sharks to whom he owes a lot of money.

First, the film is incredibly entertaining. The Safdie Brothers, the duo who wrote and directed it, crafted a truly stressful joyride. I haven’t been more stressed from a film since Parasite. The Safdies create ways of upping the stakes so you’re just as nervous as the characters are. This anxiety=inducing tone works as the perfect fuel to drive the film. Even without the anxious tone, the action is still gripping and intense. In the middle, it felt like I got a shot of adrenaline that made me realize, I love this movie. Also, on an unrelated note, I don’t think I’ve heard more f-bombs in a film since The Irishman.

Image of Sandler’s character showing off an abstract jewel (Photo Credit: nytimes.com)                                                                                                                            

One of the biggest highs of the movie is Adam Sandler’s performance. I was amazed at how he was able to handle serious scenes that many actors usually struggle with and how he was able to make a terrible person seem likable. Howard Ratner on page is a horrible person, and Adam Sandler portrays him as still pretty terrible, but he plays him so you actually root for him. Sandler does a wonderful job portraying a sleazy gambler who gets way over his head. It’s also funny to hear Sandler dropping several f-bombs while remembering how I used to watch his kid-friendly comedies when I was 7.

All in all, the film is great. Sandler, giving an all-star performance, steals the show, but there are so many other elements that also make the movie incredible. The only thing I can’t stand are the critiques online. I almost disregarded the whole film because of the reviews that couldn’t take the elements that made it so entertaining to watch. It’s critiqued that a lot of the people talk over each other, but I can say with complete confidence, that it just adds to the stress and it blends in perfectly. It’s not a big defect at all. This is an entertaining film that shouldn’t be downgraded or ignored.