Uncut Gems (2019)

by | Oct 2, 2023 | Film Reviews, 2010s, Crime, Dark comedy | 0 comments

A Relentless Dive into Chaos and Addiction


Initial release: 30 August 2019
Genre: Crime/Dark comedy
Directors: Benny SafdieJosh Safdie
Cinematographer: Darius Khondji
Budget: $19 million USD
Box office: $50 million USD


6 min read



“Life is just a blur of high-stakes bets, chaos, and gems.” – Howard Ratner (Uncut Gems)

“Uncut Gems” directed by Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, breaks free from convention and plunges headfirst into the turbulent life of Howard Ratner, a charismatic and compulsive New York City jeweler played brilliantly by Adam Sandler. This gritty and frenetic film takes us on a wild ride through the underbelly of the jewelry trade and the relentless pursuit of success. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s no denying the raw intensity and commitment that fuels “Uncut Gems.” Without further ado, let’s delve into the multifaceted aspects that make this film a unique and unforgettable experience.


Unut Gems (2019)


Performances That Shine Bright

One cannot discuss “Uncut Gems” without acknowledging the transformative performance delivered by Adam Sandler. Known primarily for his comedic roles, Sandler unveils a previously unseen depth in his acting repertoire as the troubled Howard Ratner. Sandler’s portrayal is nothing short of a revelation, as he immerses himself completely into the character’s frenzied world. His portrayal of Ratner’s compulsive gambling addiction and his relentless pursuit of the ultimate score are utterly convincing. It’s a testament to Sandler’s talent that he can make you empathize with a character who’s fundamentally flawed and morally questionable.

But Sandler is not the sole standout in this ensemble cast. The supporting cast, including Julia Fox as Ratner’s mistress and Kevin Garnett as himself, delivers performances that complement the film’s chaotic energy. Julia Fox, in particular, shines as Julia, bringing a mix of vulnerability and cunning to her character. Her on-screen chemistry with Sandler adds an extra layer of complexity to the film’s relationships.


A Cinematic Rollercoaster

“Uncut Gems” is a cinematic rollercoaster ride that never lets up. From the opening moments, the Safdie brothers thrust us into a world of pulsating neon lights, frenzied conversations, and non-stop action. The film’s kinetic energy is relentless, mirroring Howard Ratner’s own frenetic existence. This relentless pace can be both exhilarating and exhausting, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats throughout the two-hour runtime.

One of the film’s notable strengths is its immersive use of sound and music. Daniel Lopatin’s score is a pulsating, electronic heartbeat that intensifies the on-screen tension. The Safdie brothers employ sound design to great effect, using overlapping conversations and ambient noise to create a sense of overwhelming chaos. It’s an auditory assault that mirrors the chaos of Ratner’s life, drawing the audience deeper into his world.


Unut Gems (2019)


A Unique Slice of New York City

New York City has often been portrayed in films as a glamorous backdrop for romance or crime dramas. “Uncut Gems,” however, offers a different perspective. It presents a gritty and authentic view of the city, focusing on the bustling Diamond District and the diverse, often abrasive characters who inhabit it. The film captures the frenzied pace and abrasive nature of this environment, providing an unfiltered look at the hustle and bustle of a world driven by ambition and greed.

The cinematography by Darius Khondji adds to the film’s distinctive visual style. The use of close-ups and handheld camera work creates an intimate connection with the characters while also emphasizing the claustrophobic and chaotic nature of their world. The camera becomes a restless observer, mirroring the characters’ restlessness.


The Dark Side of Ambition

At its core, “Uncut Gems” is a study of ambition and addiction. Howard Ratner’s relentless pursuit of success and wealth is both his driving force and his downfall. His compulsive gambling addiction blinds him to the consequences of his actions, and we witness the destructive impact it has on his personal and professional life. The film offers a stark and unflinching look at the dark side of ambition, raising questions about the cost of one’s obsessions and the toll it takes on those around them.

The Safdie brothers skillfully navigate this thematic territory, forcing the audience to confront uncomfortable truths about human nature. It’s a challenging narrative that doesn’t offer easy answers or tidy resolutions. Instead, it lingers in the mind long after the credits roll, prompting reflection on the choices and priorities that shape our lives.


Unut Gems (2019)


Love It or Hate It

“Uncut Gems” is a divisive film. Its unrelenting pace, abrasive characters, and chaotic narrative style can be overwhelming for some viewers. For those who prefer more traditional storytelling and sympathetic protagonists, this film may be a jarring experience. However, for those who appreciate bold and unconventional filmmaking, “Uncut Gems” offers a unique and unforgettable journey into the darker corners of human behavior.



“Uncut Gems” stands as a bold and unapologetic exploration of ambition, addiction, and the chaotic nature of human existence. While its frenetic pace and abrasive characters may not resonate with everyone, it’s undeniably a film that leaves a lasting impression. Adam Sandler’s remarkable performance, coupled with the Safdie brothers’ audacious direction, ensures that “Uncut Gems” will continue to spark debates and discussions among cinephiles. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying that “Uncut Gems” is a cinematic experience like no other.


My Rating: 7/10


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