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Why Uncut Gems is a Diamond Cut Film

Jan 7, 2020

Why Uncut Gems is a Diamond Cut Film

It’s been an extended two years since the Safdie brother’s major film debut, Good Time, introduced itself to major theaters and opened up Robert Pattinson’s (what was once the Edward Cullen stereotype) role of extraordinary character into a new realm of acting. If you’ve come across the Diamond Furby and the Adam Sandler memes online and have no idea where it’s from, please take the time to go check out the Safdie’s newest flick.   

Known for the fast paced, intensity driven, gut dropping scenes laced with synth-heavy compositions from Oneohtrix Point Never, the Safdie brothers have reaffirmed themselves as the masters of anxiety-driven cinema with their latest film, Uncut Gems. 

Starring Adam Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Kevin Garnett (yes, the Boston Celtic’s Kevin Garnett) and a handful of streetcasted New Yorkers, Uncut Gems exemplifies the true grit and hustle of the New York diamond industry.   

The opening scene takes place during an accident at an African mine run by Ethiopian Jewish. During this commotion, two miners sense this opportunity to retrieve a rare opal, hence the “uncut gem”.

Fast forward to 2012, the story follows Howard Ratner (Sandler), a charismatic jeweler in the diamond district that’s constantly on the lookout for the next big score.  With Howard’s hands tied to a handful of bookies, gambling debts, and attempts of hustling Kevin Garnett (played by himself) during the NBA Western Conference Finals with this uncut gem, the film spans to Howard foolishly trying to get himself out of the hole he’s dug for himself.  


As chaotic as the movie pans out, there is a sense of synchronicity throughout the film. With Darius Khondji as the cinematographer, he lays out beautifully panned shots with high-cut and clamoring scenes that will leave you itching for what’s next on the screen.  Adam Sandler delivers a performance that we’ve never seen before, arguably his best ever on screen. With a veteran like Sandler sharing the screen with Lakeith, and other casts that present themselves as their first theatrical debut, the chemistry produces a beautiful yin-yang dynamic with supporting roles that, which most, were casted off the streets.  There’s a reason why Uncut Gems has been A24’s highest grossing film to date, and if you haven’t had a chance to see it on the big screen, do yourself a favor and take your mind and body through this visceral experience. This one’s a cult classic in the making.