Uncut Gems ★★★★

No surprise that Josh Safdie apparently doesn't take bathroom breaks - though it's actually glib to say that an occasional bathroom break might've helped this relentless movie, both because there are breaks, like the brief phosphorescent adagio with The Weeknd (chafing against Howard's importunate urgency), and because the relentlessness is part of the plan, pushing past Bad Lieutenant desperation to reach a point where - weirdly, but effectively - the dramatic stakes become irrelevant; it's increasingly clear that Howard could get the happiest possible ending and he'd still fuck it up - self-destructiveness is part of his makeup - so we stop caring too much about the destination, start to view him more in the abstract (as part of a whole, part of a capitalist system, part of the universe glimpsed in the opal). Stuff keeps happening to him, even unprompted: the door won't open, his kid has to go to the bathroom, Billy Joel suddenly blasts on the soundtrack. The excess is comedic (small details - like e.g. his next-door neighbour being John Amos from Good Times, as himself - also add to the comedy), the essence of comedy being a stepping-back from the action, a necessary distance - and, in stepping back, all the parallel dramas become apparent (the ones Howard himself doesn't see, or care about): Arno trying to function as the outsider in a Jewish family, Kevin Garnett desperately trying to prove the naysayers wrong when they say he's too old (clinging to the opal as a kind of spiritual talisman), the Ethiopian "black Jews" who might've lost a leg in obtaining the gem, whereas Howard only 'lost' 17 months. Still a bit too raucous - it's in love with hubbub; it strains for Significance - and a bit too similar to Good Time. The Safdies may eventually become parodies of themselves, but not now, not yet.