What a whiplash of a year for Adam Sandler. After delivering his laziest comedy to date with Netflix’s “Murder Mystery” over the summer (read IndieWire’s D review here), Sandler returns to the big screen this December with what is being hailed out of the fall festivals as one of his best performances ever. Go figure.
Sandler is at the center of “Uncut Gems,” the latest crime thriller from indie darlings Josh and Benny Safdie. The directing duo is known for getting unhinged and gripping performances out of their leading actors (see Arielle Holmes in “Heaven Knows What” and Robert Pattinson in “Good Time”), and it appears Sandler is no exception in “Uncut Gems.”
The official plot synopsis for the movie reads: “‘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.”
IndieWire chief critic Eric Kohn gave “Uncut Gems” an A review out of the Telluride Film Festival, calling the film a “delirious thriller” with a “hypnotic blast” of a performance from Sandler. “If ‘Uncut Gems’ leaves people rattled, disoriented, grasping for clarity in the chaos of one man’s hectic routine, that all speaks to the sheer precision of a visionary achievement in full control,” Kohn raved.
Starring opposite Sandler is an ensemble cast that includes Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel, Judd Hirsch, Eric Bogosian, NBA player Kevin Garnett, and musician The Weeknd. The movie finds Sandler back in auteur-collaboration mode after Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Punch-Drunk Love” and Noah Baumbach’s “The Meyerowitz Stories,” two performances critics often cite as the comedian’s best. Now “Uncut Gems” officially joins the list. The movie is one of A24’s top awards season releases, along with “The Lighthouse” and fellow Telluride favorite “Waves.”
A24 will release “Uncut Gems” in theaters December 13. Watch the first official trailer in the video below.