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#TIFF19 Review: Uncut Gems (Special Presentations)

September 15, 2019

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler) is a jeweler in New York City, who is always looking for his next big score. When he imports a chunk of rock from a mine in Ethiopa that is studded with rare opals, he intends to sell it at an auction, but ends up lending it to basketball player Kevin Garnett (playing himself), taking his NBA championship ring as collateral.

Howard brings the ring to a pawn shop, and takes the money that he gets for it to bet on a basketball game, intending to buy back the ring using the money that he makes off the bet, and return it to Garnett in exchange for the gem-studded rock. But things inevitably don’t go as smoothly as he plans, and as debt collectors start chasing after him, Howard ends up having to navigate not only the expectations of his wealthy clients, but also his wife (Idina Menzel) and family, and the girlfriend (Julia Fox) that he has on the side.

The latest film from brothers Benny and Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems is a stylish comedic thriller that is infused with a frantic, frazzled energy, but it lacks the precision and tightness of their previous film Good Time. This one feels somewhat bloated, and gets a bit exhausting at over two hours long, but it’s still pretty good, and features a fully committed performance by Sandler. While it’s ultimately a flawed film, Uncut Gems is also often fun to watch, and he is great in it.

Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems

Public Screenings:

Monday, September 9th – 9:15 PM at Princess of Wales

Tuesday, September 10th – 10:30 AM at Elgin Theatre

Saturday, September 14th – 1:00 PM at Ryerson Theatre

Sunday, September 15th – 6:00 PM at Ryerson Theatre

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