The world of gambling is about to make a cinematic splash with one of the most hyped films of the year Uncut Gems.
The awkwardly cast indie crime thriller comes from two brothers that many of us have never heard of. Going by the name, the Safdie Brothers, they have emerged from total obscurity to having built a name for themselves as the hottest filmmaking duo in Hollywood. Known for their manically paced dramas, their breakout hit, Good Times featuring Twilight cum indie star Robert Patterson shook up the film world in 2017 which led them to Martin Scorsese who became their executive producer on this next project.
The film which has been floating around for about ten years originally had Jonah Hill attached to the film but then found its lead in Happy Gilmore’s Adam Sandler. Adam Sandler is not an entirely unconventional choice. When he is not running around in schlock films, he does make some stellar choices. Think standout classic Punch Drunk Love (2002) and The Meyerowitz Stories (2017).
Let’s take a closer look at some of the incredible hype surrounding the film:
Plot: The film set in 2012 also includes Idina Menzel, Judd Hirsch and Lakeith Stanfield and is based around the high wire adventures of Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler); a jewellery store owner, who saddled with debt takes on some precarious risks in pursuit of the ultimate win. Throughout the heart-pounding two hours, he tries in vain to balance business, family and enemies in order to get there. This film feels similar to the cult hit Rounders (1998), which saw Matt Damon and Edward Norton learning the ropes of high-stakes poker in which they both end up vying for the ultimate win. And we all know how much strategy and intelligence is involved in order to be a great poker player. Uncut Gems follows a long tradition of masterfully cut high stakes gambling films such as Casino (1995), Mississippi Grind (2015) and Mollys Game (2017).
A24: The hottest film production company out there have put their weight behind the film. The company with credits that include, Climax (2018) by Gaspar Noe and Ari Aster’s Hereditary (2017) have been able to rebrand coolness in Hollywood. Expect a very unorthodox promotional plan to get this film rolling into Academy circles.
Hip-hop: Some very high profile music stars appear in this film. Namely, The Weeknd – yes, that right, the Canadian hip-hop star will mark his acting debut in this film. Travis Scott, the superstar rapper, also makes a brief appearance in the movie.
Kevin Garnett: The 2,1-meter basketball legend found himself in a lead supporting role for the film. Word has it that the former NBA championship-winning centre of the Boston Celtics performance was superb. NBA stars are no stranger to Hollywood. Remember Kareem Abdul Jabar in the cult hit Aeroplane (1980), Michael Jordan in Space Jam (1996) and then Labron James in Trainwreck (2015).
Oneohtrix Point Never: Known also as Daniel Lopatin, the experimental producer known for his avant-garde pop musings composed the arresting soundtrack. The score won Lopatin the Best Soundtrack Award at Cannes Film Festival. Rumour has it that he produced some tunes with The Weeknd for the film, but they are wont be seeing the light of day.
As of writing this article, this film has a 94% approval rate with 50 reviews in on Rotten Tomatoes. UIncut Gems also opened at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival to unanimous praise, with The Guardian calling it one of the best films of the year.
Judging from the trailer, it looks not only like a visual feast, but an adrenaline-fueled journey through the diamond district of New York. Take a peek: