We went to see Uncut Gems on Christmas Day. It was the highest-rated movie available, and while we didn’t know much about it, we thought it would be a safe bet.
Uncut Gems kills your Christmas spirit with the speed and power of a baseball bat hit on the side of the head.
Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is a New York City jeweler and compulsive gambler. His life is filled with frenetic activity in all areas. He is cheating on his wife, he is neglecting his three children, he is not paying his debts to mafia-types, he is abusing his employees, he is using his friends, and he swindles everyone he comes in contact with. That does not come without a cost.
He succeeds in buying a rare opal from a dubious source at an Ethiopian gem mine. He estimates the raw (uncut) gem is worth over a million dollars, and he tries to sell it to a superstitious basketball player who thinks it gives him power. But it’s never that simple, because he has to use the leverage of the gem to hold off the many wolves he owes money to. As you might expect, things don’t always work out like he has been planning.
Uncut Gems starts out with frantic activity, total chaos all around, cussing, beating, cheating and subterfuge. Every scene is accentuated by a powerful sound track of custom music to further disorient the viewer. Within about ten minutes of watching I realized I didn’t have a clue about what was going on. I was severely disturbed and wondering why I was there. The couple who sat next to us left after about 30 minutes. I assume they couldn’t take it anymore. I was close, but we stuck with it in hopes of it getting better.
The plot was impossible to follow. But I assume that was by the design of the music and the camera work, accompanied by the constant yelling of the people. Confusion abounded.
The movie also holds a dubious record of being in place seven of all time for movies with the word fuck or fuck-derivatives. There are 408 in the movie, or about three a minute.
Fucks notwithstanding, this was a very hard movie to watch, and when it was done, I was dazed.
I found no moral, no redeeming value and no lessons.
Just stay away from gambling, and from the jewelry business in New York.
I felt like I needed a shower when it was all done.
And yes, Sandler will probably win some awards for that performance.