A roller-coaster, a time bomb, a heart-attack—you pick the analogy— the Safdie brothers have confirmed their arrival as major auteurs, in a big way, with Uncut Gems. Their specific brand of narrative propulsion is their directorial trademark
It’s not even really a story- it’s a scenario—the Safdie’s wind it up and let it go— aided by the proclivity of claustrophobic close-ups, overlapping (and loud) dialogue, New York City, savage selfishness
The film lacks the level of dedication to the neons and specific color palate in Good Time
ambient noise a character in the film, overlapping dialogue like Altman, but at a crazy high volume, shouting, buzzers going off, street noise, high anxiety
Alexander Mackendrick’s 1957 film The Smell of Success seems like an appropriate precursor in a lot of ways- dark, juggling act
The Daniel Lopatin score is a wow— ballsy—very different — I admired his work on Good Time as well which was more John Carpenter-grindhouse—this is a little more retro melodic almost Vangelis-like—I do like that this score makes it clear that the Safdie’s were in clear creative control of this project— I think with any other studio or meddling producer they insist on something else.
Sandler’s achievement is among the best for an actor or actress in 2019. He’s a tornado– destructive, compulsive– It’s worth a debate whether this or 2002’s Punch-Drunk Love is Sandler’s best and I consider that an incredible compliment
The NYC diamond district is a character in the film, like Howard Ratner (Sandler, and a great name), loud, abrasive—the casino, the nightclub (a gorgeous sequence at 58 minutes of the red neon at the club)
Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant (1992) certainly feels like a companion piece (though I can’t imagine anyone is such a masochist (or have the endurance) they’d watching them together in a double-feature—haha). Going way back how about von Stroheim’s Greed? Huston’s The Treasure of the Sierra Madre? Gollum’s obsession with the precious in LOTR? After Hours from Scorsese is another for sure- NYC, compressed time, a labyrinth.
The opening and closing bookends are tremendous. We start with a man who has a leg compound fracture (all in the name of greed) – then the camera dives into the opal at a molecular level like Fincher’s Fight Club — The Safdie’s transition to Howard’s colonoscopy and then at the very end of the film we mirror the opal molecular examination with his bullet wound
A Highly Recommend/ Must See border film – a great triumph
What a year 🙂
@KidCharlemagne– right?? Who do we thank for it? A24? Netflix?
This is a movie that leaves you so tired, very exhausted, when I finished watching it i didn’t want to see anything else. Any recommendations about movies like that?
My main problem with the movie is that i detest Sandler
I was thinking of watching this. Did you like it ? Would you recommend?
Why did it exhaust you? Was it very emotional or very fast paced or something?
@Azman. The intensity and anxiety produced throughout the movie had me at the edge of my seat , as Drake points out “roller-coaster, a time bomb, a heart-attack”. I absolutely recommend it, one of the 10 best movies of 2019.
I may watch this today. I haven’t heard alot about this movie till you made the page. TSPDT 21st century dont have it that high up(not MS range). Which made me think; what are some of the most underrated and overrated movies and directors on TSPDT’ s list ( this is for all time from 1910s-2010s).
For me Jeanne Dielmann is overrated. As much as I love Vigo, I do think he is a tad overrated too.
For underrated, I feel Schindlers List is somewhat underrated and Lumet is underrated as a director.
What do you think?
Howard Ratner is a fascinating character, big credit to both Sandler for the performance and the screenwriter. It’s such a high energy performance, just utterly relentless.
Love the reference to The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, I was thinking the same thing, Sandler’s character reminds me of Bogart’s Fred C. Dobbs in that he’s a train wreck waiting to happen although with Dobbs he starts off relatively sane whereas Howard Ratner is clearly a disaster from the opening of the film. Also it’s probably one of the best portrayals of an addict in any film (PSH performance in Owning Mahoney is my personal favorite)
I realize it’s probably starting to sound like a broken record at this point but 2019 is just utterly ridiculous. Finally caught a viewing of Uncut Gems the other day and it took me a second to realize that this was also a 2019 film.
I mean at this point I have the following:
MP (in no particular order)
1. The Irishman
3. Once Upon…Hollywood
MS (in no particular order)
1. Uncut Gems
3. A Hidden Life
Still need to see About Endlessness, Ad Astra, and Marriage Story and its even possible one of the films I have as MS could go up MP which would make this a legitimate contender for the 2nd greatest year in film history (frankly 1960 is in a class of its own)
@James Trapp- Yep, there are going to be some very worthy films on the chopping block left off the 2019 top 10
Watched this and Punch Drunk Love back to back. Punch Drunk Love in the better film but this might be the best Sandler performance although it’s close. I hope Sandler has at least one more performance of this caliber left in him.
I am curious though, which active director would you most like to see Sandler work with?
1. Wes Anderson
2. Edgar Wright
3. Alejandro González Iñárritu
4. Damien Chazelle
5. Noah Baumbach
6. Ryan Coogler
7. Bong Joon Ho (admittingly this one is especially unlikely but would be fascinating)
8. Someone else
@James Trapp- That’s a good wish list- he did, already, work with Baumbach though- 2017- The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). Really solid if you haven’t seen it yet.
@Drake – I did not know, thanks for the heads up, I suggested Baumbach based on the 2 films of his I have seen, The Squid and the Whale and Frances Ha. I have seen part of Marriage Story but need to watch the entire film.
He’s gonna be in the next Safdie Brothers movie. I’m hoping he’s similarly great in that. I haven’t seen Uncut Gems in nearly 3 years (My film and acting knowledge wasn’t as good as it is now) so I should probably see it again but I remember it fairly well and Sandler is genius. For now I would give the edge to PDL but it really is neck and neck.
With that said, @Drake was Sandler in the mix when you were making the top 100? I havent seen much of Sandler outside of those 2 movies (what I have seen was crap, and I wouldn’t be surprised if everything else is crap too) but that really is a monster 1-2 punch. If the list was solely based on the 1-2 punches I think he’s probably closer to 50 than 100.