A few weeks ago, I was thinking about Good Time. I hadn’t seen it since theaters where I absolutely loved it, and it reminded me how the Safdie brothers did a lot to legitimize Robert Pattinson’s career (I will never say one negative word about him as an actor ever again). I was wondering what they’d been up to since, but didn’t wonder enough to look it up. I ordered the film off my Best Buy wishlist and watched it shortly thereafter. The very next day, I’m at the movies (big surprise) and I see the trailer for Uncut Gems. I see the Safdie brother’s name splashed across the screen. My excitement for this film infinitely grows.
Adam Sandler is a jeweler in NYC, but he’s also a bit of a hustler who is very addicted to sports betting. He owes money all over town and some of those debts are coming due, but he’s got a scheme to cover them. An opal he’s been tracking for months has finally been smuggled in from Ethiopia, and if all goes according to plan, he can turn it around for a major profit. That doesn’t mean he won’t try to draw a little more money off it when an opportunity arises.
This is definitely a Safide film. It has the same look and feel, and the same sense of unsettling paranoia, but I’d argue that this is even more chaotic and disorienting. The shots are tight. The music is tense. People are constantly talking over each other. You don’t get a sense of exactly what’s going on, but you know that it’s constant deception and one bad decision after another. And I get the sense that disorientation is the point. Sandler is trying to front to everybody that he’s got it under control, so you have to just take his word for it. But you can’t help but feel the underlying danger. You know he’s really getting in deeper and deeper.
By the time we got to the last twenty minutes (no spoilers) I was literally on the edge of my seat. As in, I sat up at full attention, pulled up my legs criss cross apple sauce, and leaned forward so far that I thought I was gonna fall out of my chair. I just needed to know what was going to happen, and given the aforementioned chaos I really had no way of knowing. All I know is that I left there feeling like I needed a Xanax.
I said that the Safdies legitimized Pattinson’s career, and they’ve done wonders with Sandler here. It’s no secret that he’s been chasing an Oscar for years, and this might finally be what gets him in that nomination. Really, if it’s not this movie, it’s never going to happen for him. You cannot look at him here and see The Waterboy or Happy Gilmore. It’s a completely transformitive performance.
The story behind getting this film to the big screen is almost as fascinating at the film itself (it’s spelled out on IMDB trivia), but it was destined to be Sandler. And he owns this.
Uncut Gems – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/