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Uncut Gems

‘Uncut Gems’ proves again how comedians often make fine dramatic actors. They manage to alternate between masques of humour to a masque of tragedy with equal skill. Whilst seeing an Adam Sandler movie may fill some with dread, when he feels like it he can give a good performance. His previous rare dramatic turn in ‘Punch Drunk Love’ was a revelation. Away from the terrible comedies he usually makes, he’s got it in him to deliver the goods. ‘Uncut Gems’ is a solid Sander experience that won’t send you running for the door.

Battling a gambling addiction, New York gems dealer Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is desperate. With his personal and professional life in tatters and deep in debt, Howard wishes for a miracle. This he receives when he discovers a rare cluster of uncut gems. Keen to find a buyer who can solve all his problems, Howard’s troubles are only just beginning as shady characters aim to inflict more misery.

Directed by the Safdie Brothers, ‘Uncut Gems’ explores a life of an emotionally stunted person living in a world of chaos. Howard is a person thriving on this as he struggles with a myriad of personal issues. Sandler conveys the enduring desperation of his role perfectly. Although he may appear an eternal loser, Howard’s continual refusal to never surrender is well realised. It’s a quicksand world he exists in, one that is ably created by a great cast.

‘Uncut Gems’ also sparkles through its occasionally unusual artistic choices. The generally washed out cinematography reflects the hazy world Howard and his cohorts inhabit. The synth based musical score adds a quirky dimension too. It doesn’t always work as it cuts valuable tension to certain scenes but adds a unique flavour to proceedings giving it an edge.

Whilst he may not be on top of many people’s hit parade, Adam Sandler gives a rare compelling performance worth seeing. Like the gems his character handles, ‘Uncut Gems’ may not perfectly shine but it has an individual style. Sandler could do well to break free of his wholly comedic persona and dive into films like ‘Uncut Gems’ making use of a talent he rarely reveals.

Rating out of 10: 7

CURRENTLY STREAMING ON NETFLIX

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