Adam Sandler has become known as of late for his critically maligned Netflix comedies (IndieWire gave his most recent effort, “Murder Mystery,” a D review this summer), but the actor could wash the bad taste out of cinephiles’ mouths in a huge way later this year with “Uncut Gems.” The latest from “Good Time” directors Josh and Benny Safdie gives Sandler a juicy leading role that should bring him back to the critical heights he reached with Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Punch-Drunk Love” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories.”
“Uncut Gems” was recently announced as a selection for the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival (see full lineup here), which debuted the first look photo above. The festival has also revealed the official plot synopsis: “‘Uncut Gems’ is a crime thriller about Howard Ratner (Sandler), a charismatic New York City jeweler always on the lookout for the next big score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime, Howard must perform a precarious high-wire act, balancing business, family, and encroaching adversaries on all sides, in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win.”
In an interview with IndieWire, TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey raved about the movie. “It’s probably the most Safdie movie you’ve ever seen,” he said. “It moves at a breakneck pace. It’s cranked up to 11 the whole time, it’s exhilarating to watch, Adam Sandler gives his very best performance since ‘Punch-Drunk Love’ and Kevin Garnett is in it, so it’s got something for everybody. They shot everything on [35mm] so even though it’s a bigger movie for them it’s got a real gritty quality.”
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“Good Time” earned Robert Pattinson the best reviews of his career so far and got him significant Oscar buzz for Best Actor. Many cinephiles are hoping “Uncut Gems” will do the same for Sandler. The film co-stars Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel, Judd Hirsch, Eric Bogosian, and Pom Klementieff. Cinematographer Darius Khondji served as DP.
A24 is set to release “Uncut Gems” in theaters later this year. The studio is handling U.S. rights, while Netflix will distribute the picture internationally.
Additional reporting by Eric Kohn