Telluride Audiences Rattled by ‘Uncut Gems,’ an Endurance Test With a Great Adam Sandler Performance

First reactions from "Uncut Gems," starring Sandler as a New York jewelry merchant in a jam, are flying out of Telluride.
Joshua Safdie, Ben Safdie'Good Time' photocall, 43rd Deauville American Film Festival, France - 02 Sep 2017
The Safdie brothers

First reactions from Benny and Josh Safdie’s “Uncut Gems,” starring Adam Sandler as a New York jewelry merchant caught up in a hot jam, are flying out of Telluride. Anticipation was high on the heels of the Safdies’ 2017 heist-thriller-from-hell “Good Time.”

With Telluride audiences’ ears literally still ringing, per the reactions rounded up below, it seems “Uncut Gems” is yet another merciless assault on the senses from the auteur brothers, who previously plunged viewers headfirst into heroin addiction with “Heaven Knows What” and casual kleptomania with “The Pleasure of Being Robbed.” Comparisons to cocaine and pleas for post-screening benzos abound.

TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey, whose festival the film will hit up next, called “Uncut Gems” “the most Safdie movie you’ve ever seen. 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.’”

Shot on 35mm by Oscar nominee Darius Khondji, the urban thriller follows Sandler as a risk-taking NYC jeweler caught in a big mess in pursuit of his next big score. With another soundtrack from Oneohtrix Point Never, who made “Good Time” a visceral and stressful experience punctuated by psychotic electro beats, “Uncut Gems” promises to be yet another wild ride from the Safdies.

A24 drops the film in select theaters on December 13, followed by a wider rollout.

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