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Uncut Gems


Stars: Adam Sandler, Julia Fox, LaKeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel, Kevin Garnett, Eric Bogosian, Judd Hirsch. Voices: Tilda Swinton, Natasha Lyonne

Director: Josh and Benny Safdie

Though not on the whole a good film, this does contain the role Sandler was probably born to play, as well as being as far away from his more familiar comic image as you could imagine.

Expletives fly faster than the speed of a bullet from the motormouth of ever-grafting jewel merchant and compulsive gambler Howard Ratner (Sandler) as he wheels and deals, often to save his own skin; as soon as thousands of dollars come into his possession, they go towards crazy bets on his local basketball team The Celtics, whose star player Kevin Garnett (as himself) covets the black opal that Howard has just had smuggled in from Ethiopia inside a large fish.

Howie has a wife (Menzel) and kids at home, as well as a curvaceous mistress (Fox) who works in his shop, and who he has now installed in a plush apartment.

Unfortunately some very dangerous men are after our anti-hero for moneys owing.

The adrenalin-fuelled (very loud) film is a constant stream of overlapping dialogue that may make your head spin and your eyes droop, as it careers to an inevitable climax after Howie places the mother of all bets in an attempt to solve all his problems.

The film leaves a nasty taste in the mouth, even if its star, full of jittery energy, keeps you watching to its ugly conclusion.

David Quinlan

USA 2019. UK Distributor: Signature. Colour by The Mill/Print by Technicolor.
135 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 2, Drugs 1, Swearing 3.

Review date: 06 Jan 2020