Before You Watch Uncut Gems
If you are going to watch the movie because you like comedies played by Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems is not your cup of tea. But if you wish to view another dark and bitter film made by Safdie brothers, you’ll get what you expected. Uncut Gems takes you into the middle of a financial crisis created by lies, stupidity, bad luck, and risky behaviors of a Jewish gem salesman.
After You Watched
Almost half of the movie spends on showing Howard in his messy routine of daily life: A series of repetitive arguments and conflicts accompanied by non-stop talking characters and annoying background music.
This style aims to take the audience through the exhausting hours of Howard’s life and show them how he is running on the edge. This part of the movie is intentionally annoying to convey the boresome of his life and the feeling of a necessary change.
Why did Safdie brothers choose Adam Sandler for this story? Is anything hilarious here? Is it going to be a comedy later? NO! Uncut Gems is repeating the same motif of Safdis’ previous movies: Good Time and Heaven Knows What. Howard is struggling with his life in a similar way to the characters of those movies.
In Heaven Knows What, Harley is a young woman who struggles between keeping his beloved boyfriend and enjoying her heroin addiction. At a point, she concludes that suicide is the best way to end her misery with the hope that her boyfriend may forgive her misdeed.
In Good Time, Connie wants to rescue his brother – Nick – who is in jail after a failed bank robbery, and his life is in danger inside the prison. He struggles to find enough money to save Nick from certain death, but New York City’s underworld is not a predictable ground for his desperate efforts.
And Howard is getting drown in debts, and nobody is buying his lies anymore. His last hope is to sell an uncut gem in an auction. Even though he knows that the gem is his last hope, he lends it to KG, a famous basketball player, and then pawn KG’s precious ring for a few thousand dollars to bet on a game.
His creditors who are following him from the beginning of the movie beat him, humiliate him and even stop his betting. In the eye of everyone, he is a miserable and desperate man who is dreaming of winning amid overwhelming losses.
The conflict’s peak gets shaped in the last scenes when Howard finally sells the gem, but instead of paying his debts, he bets whole money on another basketball match. A crazy move that may save his life by winning big.
Unlike what the audience predicts in this scene, Howard wins the biggest bet of his life, and now he can pay off all his debts. His winning is a big surprise, but Safdies brothers are not yet satisfied by this and plan to shock the audience again.
The happy ending for Howard turns into a tragedy when Phil shoots him in the head. A surprise at the last scenes of the movie that leaves viewers in shock. I think this scene clearly shows why Adam Sandler plays as Howard. His comedy background and the repetitive unlucky events in Howard’s life create an expectation of a happy ending or an absurd continuation of events in Uncut Gems. Having these elements together and the expectations created in the story makes the movie’s tragic end look more in contrast with the rest.
This contrast is presented in another way by showing Howard’s body on the ground. He is dead, but still, we can see his fading smile. Howard’s life is like an uncut gem with a few beautiful corners but mostly covered by rough, ugly stone.