Uncut Gems, A Rough Movie To Watch

There were many popular movies of 2019, but not many of them will stress you out as much as the Netflix Original, and Oscar snubbed, Uncut Gems.

From the unique minds at A24 comes a story about New York jeweler, Howard Ratner, as he spends 2 hours and 15 minutes causing your anxiety to manifest in so many different ways.

Howard, played by Adam Sandler, is a smooth talking salesman who gets himself into all kinds of trouble, making multiple shady deals with unreliable people, while juggling a family, a failing marriage, and an affair, Howard gets his hands on one of the world’s rarest gems sourced from an opal mine in Ethiopia, an uncut, yet incredibly beautiful and colourful rock, worth around $1 Million.

By chance, NBA star, Kevin Garnett, a player for the Boston Celtics, visits his store around the same time the gem arrives in the mail. Filled with excitement, Howard shows KG the Rock, however, also enthralled by its beauty, KG wants it … bad.

After allowing KG to borrow the stone for a few days, Howard cuts his way through a rocky journey of survival as he creatively figures out ways to pay off the multiple people he’s borrowed money from and made deals with while desperately trying to retrieve the gem to sell at auction.

So many conflicts happening at once, and so many terribly risky decisions made by Howard certainly gives unease to the audience and doesn’t let you take a breath until the credits roll.

I don’t want to give anything else away, and I may have already said too much, so I will say Sandler’s performance was indeed worthy of an Oscar nomination, so it was unfortunate not to see him recognised at the 2020 ceremony.

While watching this film, I was completely stressed out for the entire 2 hours and 15 minutes, and for the first half I was seriously questioning whether I’d continue till the end or not. Of course I did, but it was honestly a rough watch.

The endless chaos of the story hits you hard and doesn’t stop. Every interaction Howard has with each character somehow manifests itself as a broken relationship that can never be reconciled and you sit there waiting for something good to actually happen. 

You need him to have a win… not only for his sake but for yours as well so you can finally take a breath.

This isn’t to say the movie was terrible – quite the contrary. The writing, directing and performances were amazing, but if you’re looking for a feel good movie without hearing an F bomb five times every sentence, then this film is not for you.Uncut Gems has a unique quality to it. Every aspect of this film from the colour scheme to the soundtrack tell the story in their own ways, but combined make an incredibly stress induced, yet creative masterpiece.


  • Jay Evans


    Jay Evans has spent the last 8 years working as a film editor, 4 of which have been with The Initiative Production Company. In his spare time he enjoys music, comedy, experimental cooking and getting lost in the woods.


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