Who would have thought that a film starring Adam Sandler and a former NBA star would be a contender for best film of the year?
“Uncut Gems” is a surprise on every level, creating this despicable, awful human being that ruins everything he touches and somehow making the audience give a damn about him conning everyone, even cheering for him at times. Sandler’s portrayal is vibrant and energetic, yet slimey and animalistic, always strutting like a peacock who thinks he owns the forest despite all the predators that would devour him without a second thought, and he loves every moment of his game, practically getting off on his success and letting everyone know it.
Yet, there’s a vulnerability that he shows in his quieter moments, where he struggles to sell a gem he bought for $100,000 for much more than its worth feels insurmountable. Despite all odds, there’s a persistent gut feeling throughout “Uncut Gems” where you’re watching a man so absorbed in his own world that you want to see him get what he desires, even though he’s irredeemable and treats his family like his jewelry.
This is the kind of magic cinema was made for – taking the filthiest of humanity and making him as grandiose as a superhero. He certainly seems himself as one. It plays to both sides so well, with his family knowing full well just how he’d sell them off if he could (especially his wife, played by a quiet yet fiery Idina Menzel), while others are caught up in his power rush as much as he is (in particular his girlfriend, played by a loving yet conniving Julia Fox). All while this cosmic force seems to be at work, pushing many characters to aspire to be more, including Sandler but especially Kevin Garnett who proves that he’s just as good at acting as playing basketball. This all creates the most unforgettable movie experience of the year, and one you shouldn’t miss out on.
Final Grade: A