Uncut Gems is a relentlessly nerve-racking film that too-closely replicates the emotional rollercoaster of addictive gambling. It’s 135 minutes of stress-induced filmmaking brought to life by Daniel Lopatin’s synthy soundtrack, Darius Khondji’s captivating cinematography and a vulgarly temperamental performance by Adam Sandler.
Having experienced the directors Josh and Benny Safdie’s previous film, Good Time — a chaotic crime caper starring an enigmatic Robert Pattinson — I decided to carefully choose some flower that would keep me focused on the film and alleviate my anxiety. So before hitting the SIFF Cinema Egyptian for the 6:00pm showing, I stopped by The Reef on Capitol Hill to find an herbal accompaniment for that night’s feature presentation.
I settled on two half-gram Easy Rider pre-rolled joints by Sauce Boss that contained 15% THC an 6% CBD and provided an intense, earthy flavor that kept me calm and clear-headed. In addition to the 2-pack of “Terp Twisters”, I copped an eighth of Glue by Native Herb Company — aptly named for it’s ability to keep you “glued” to the couch. The dense, sticky, hybrid strain permeates the air with equal parts sour, citrus, and pine, while delivering a euphoric buzz without the excess paranoia. Winner of both the Michigan and Los Angeles 2014 Cannabis Cups, and High Times Jamaican World Cup, Glue delivers a stunningly relaxing high and a pungent aroma, thanks to its parent strains of Chem’s Sister, Sour Dubb, and Chocolate Diesel.
As I settled into one of the 520-seats at the SIFF Cinema Egyptian, I felt mildly alert with minimum anxiety. As the movie started, my high carried me through the duration of the film, partially shielding me from frantic style of filmmaking the Safdie Brothers are becoming known for.
Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is a charismatic, middle-aged jeweler struggling to stay afloat in New York’s Diamond District. Verbally volatile and immune to blame, Howard spins a web of lies and risky parlay bets that eventually ensnare him within his own depravities.
Uncut Gems is a polarizing slice-of-life film that balances both realism and extravagance in a surprisingly vivid way. Propelled by brilliant camerawork, a devoted cast, and a riveting score, Uncut Gems is a noisy, funny, disjointed crime film that is distinctly memorable, like the hyperactive lovechild of Snatch and Blood Diamond. Paired with a few pleasurable puffs of Easy Rider and Glue, Uncut Gems is manageably mellow, delightfully sardonic, and an entertaining way to bring in the New Year.