“Uncut Gems” became A24’s highest specialty box office opener in its debut weekend with a giant $105,000 per theater average, and it now heads into a nationwide Christmas opening backed by at least one beloved auteur: Yorgos Lanthimos. The filmmaker behind “Dogtooth,” “The Lobster,” and “The Favourite” participated in Variety’s Directors on Directors series to write an essay heaping praise on the latest release from directing duo Josh and Benny Safdie.
“With ‘Uncut Gems,’ Ben and Josh Safdie have utilized all the elements I have loved in their previous films and brought them to a higher level, resulting in a unique cinematic experience,” Lanthimos writes. “There is a suspenseful plot, there are complex characters, there are high stakes, but the most important thing is the sense that you are watching something which is one of a kind.”
Lanthimos continued, “The rhythm is relentless, the sound too, I would even dare say that it’s like watching a Robert Altman film that was dipped in acid. But all that can’t describe the film accurately either. Ben and Josh have created their own complete world — as they usually do — within a real world, that of Diamond District in New York.”
“Uncut Gems” stars Adam Sandler as a neurotic New York City jeweler with a debilitating gambling addiction. Sandler has received widespread acclaim for his performance, winning the Best Actor prize from the National Board of Review. Sandler is considered a dark horse in the Oscar race, although he did miss out on nominations from the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
“It’s one Adam Sandler’s best performances — along with “Punch Drunk Love” and “The Meyerowitz Stories” — proving once more he’s a truly great actor but also the perfect choice to play this character,” Lanthimos writes. “Because from within Ben and Josh’s unique style and cinematic voice, it’s the human element that stands out and makes everything fall into place, the flawed characters that we love, even in their most embarrassing moments.”
Head to Variety’s website to read more of Lanthimos’ thoughts on “Uncut Gems,” plus directors like Guillermo del Toro and Jason Reitman weighing in “The Irishman,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” and more. “Uncut Gems” is now playing in select theaters. A24 is pushing the film nationwide Christmas day.