One of the best movies of 2019 is finally available for fans in the US to watch on Netflix, and it was also one of the most surprising hits of the year, right from the casting choices to the performances delivered. Of course, we are talking about the Adam Sandler-led ‘Uncut Gems’. The movie is unique right off the bat since it has Sandler in a serious role, in a crime thriller no less, which is streets away from his usual comedy roles in rom-coms or humour-based films.
There was scepticism about Sandler’s ability to pull off this role when the first trailers came out. However, upon watching the movie, it is quickly evident that this is probably the best performance of his lengthy acting career. Sandler plays the role of a Jewish jewelry store owner in New York, Harold Ratner, who gets in over his head due to his ‘love’ of sports gambling, and then has to race against time to be able to pay off his increasingly irate creditors.
Sandler does a brilliant job of portraying the helplessness of Ratner in terms of being unable to chase the next big bet. It is a character which is not too dissimilar to those he has played in other movies in that Ratner is also living in a fantasy world where he thinks the rules don’t apply and that he will be able to close off the circle and make good on his debts. However, the similarities end there, and it is quite a jarring movie with some incredible sequences as well as a pretty shocking finale, so fans should keep that in mind before going in to watch this flick.
Gambling fans, such as those who love to play roulette online, and other casino games on websites and so on, will identify with Ratner’s behaviour, as Sandler does a stellar job of portraying the spiral that many of those who face gambling troubles go into. Frankly speaking, ‘Uncut Gems’ is actually a very good example of a cautionary tale arising from unfettered and unrestricted gambling, be it sports betting or at casinos or even online, and this is mainly down to Sandler, as well as the directors, the brothers Josh and Benny Safdie. The Safdie brothers have certainly catapulted themselves into the conversation for the best directors in Hollywood at the moment, even though they probably need to put out more excellent work to be able to be considered so. Additionally, the supporting cast does an excellent job as well, with Idina Menzel, more popularly known as the voice of Elsa in Disney’s animated blockbusters ‘Frozen’ and ‘Frozen 2’, doing well as Ratner’s wife who is trying everything she can to keep him on the straight and narrow. The likes of Julia Fox, Eric Bogosian and Lakeith Stanfield are also vital to the story, with a surprise role for Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, whose character is actually central to a lot that goes down later on in the movie.
It was an absolute travesty that the movie did not get any Academy Award nominations when it was certainly deserving of a nod in the Best Picture category, as well as Sandler getting put on the list for Best Actor. However, despite these snubs, the movie did gain a cult following, and this has led to calls for Sandler to star in more serious roles and not focus only on the silly, goofy comedy that he has been doing thus far. Additionally, Netflix users in the USA will now finally be able to see and appreciate Sandler’s acting efforts in this movie, and ‘Uncut Gems’ is certainly one of the best gambling-themed movies on offer on the streaming service.