Uncut Gems ★★★★★

I’m absolutely gutted this is a Netflix exclusive outside of America. I’ve just left the full-to-the-brim screening at the cinema, and it’s perhaps been my favourite cinema going experience ever.

I respect the considered silence from my screening of 1917 last night, but the unrestrained quiet uttering of “fucking hell” and exasperated “Jesus christ” from audience members fully engaged and frustrated at Sandler’s chancer character really underlined how utterly on the same wavelength everyone was with this film. From brows firmly furrowed and heads deep in sweaty palms, I even caught one woman uncontrollably fling herself into the back of her chair when Kevin Garnett sunk a hoop in the climax of the film. We all judged Sandler’s Howard Ratner’s choices, his edge-of-the-cliff, loose thread hanging lifestyle, but we were all living for that next big hit in the final twenty minutes.

That’s the real gem that lies at the centre of Benny and Josh Safdie’s latest film. Living life for the rush, Sandler’s brings his repugnant jewellery dealer to life, bring his talented quick talking to the heart of the character, thrusting himself further down the knife’s edge at every moment. The Safdie’s pitch him within an equally fast moving world, with his impromptu perfect planning sliding away from him, leading to deeper and more absurd schemes.

Brilliant performances across the board brings Uncut Gems to life in more ways than anyone could expect. The fluid and naturalistic flow of interactions, every gram of Uncut Gems is just masterful and unique. It’s even career best work from cinematographer Darius Khondji, a sweat there’s a scene entirely lit by Lakeith Stanfield’s orange hoodie and it’s just brilliant from all aspects, from technically to thematically.

The Oscar nominations are tomorrow and it’s looking increasingly likely Uncut Gems is going to be shut out of the awards completely, including the headline grabbing performance by Sandler. I’m hoping I’m wrong, but if so, it really indicates where the Academy has gone wrong, favouring technical gimmickry and self-aggrandising narrative over purely gut-instinct cinema. It’s just a practically perfect, I could have never predicted I’d be saying that about a film that literally opens inside Adam Sandler’s asshole.

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