starring Adam Sandler, Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel, Judd Hirsch
screenplay by Ronald Bronstein and Josh Safdie & Benny Safdie
directed by Benny Safdie & Josh Safdie
by Walter Chaw Enfants terrible Josh and Bennie Safdie follow-up their kinetic crime thriller Good Time with Uncut Gems, another helping of the same packed with so much anxiety and energy that it becomes exhausting a good while before it's done with you. Opening in an Ethiopian opal mine, where a huge-karated black specimen is unearthed in secret by subsistence miners while one of their compatriots wails in agony over a nasty open fracture in his leg, Uncut Gems then cuts to diamond dealer Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) getting a colonoscopy. When not having the inside of his bowels photographed, he's ensconced in his little retail hole in New York's Diamond District, doing his best to fend off an endless wave of creditors while looking for that one big score. In a recent (i.e., February, 2019) article in INTERVIEW, Patrick McGraw memorably describes that stretch of West 47th between 5th and 6th avenues as "...a composite of fake teeth, cheap cologne, aviators, dyed hair, machismo, self-loathing, and seemingly uncontrollable gesticulating"--a good description of Howard, too, as it happens, as Sandler finally finds a dramatic role the equal now of his finest hour, Punch-Drunk Love. Howard is not unlike Barry, the role he played in P.T. Anderson's film--if Barry had no success managing his sudden fits of manic rage.