#TIFF19: “UNCUT GEMS”
Review by David Baldwin for Mr. Will Wong
Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is a jeweller and compulsive gambler. He cannot seem to keep any of the money or collateral he has, frequently selling it for bet money – even if the collateral does not belong to him. And after Howard acquires a rock filled with precious gemstones, things quickly go from bad to worse.
Uncut Gems is not for everyone and is easily one of the most divisive films at the Festival. Directing duo Benny and Josh Safdie have a distinct style, and they infuse this one with the same look, feel and tone of their Robert Pattinson vehicle, Good Time. What they create is a film that runs over two hours, but somehow only manages to feel 45-minutes long. It moves chaotically and recklessly from scene to scene, gradually ratcheting up the tension to unbearable levels. Just watching the shenanigans and situations Sandler’s character Howard finds himself in is ridiculously-exhausting, but somehow just as wildly exhilarating. The Supporting Cast is solid (inexplicably including NBA star Kevin Garnett), but Sandler is in his own other world here. He plays into some of his classic archetypes but also grounds himself in a totally foreign space, bringing out nuances you would never think possible. I just wish the film had a bit more substance to it.
UNCUT GEMS screens during TIFF at the following times:
Monday September 9, 9:15pm @ Princess of Wales
Tuesday September 10, 10:30am @ Elgin Theatre
Saturday September 14, 1:00pm @ Ryerson Theatre
Sunday September 15, 6:00pm @ Ryerson Theatre