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Date TimeJanuary 14, 2020
VoiceThe Safdie brothers’ Adam Sandler thriller is brilliant, but watching it is a horrible experience
Uncut Gems is so stressful it should come with a panic attack warning
You won’t see a better-made film this year than Uncut Gems, the Safdie brothers’ propulsive new thriller about the street-level misadventures of a petty crook. Nor will you see one that’s more stressful, aggravating or intensely unpleasant to watch. Uncut Gems may well be a minor masterpiece. It might also be the least enjoyable Adam Sandler movie of all time.
As with their previous film Good Time, Josh and Benny Safdie have forged a stunningly effective tale of a man with an unparalleled ability to dig himself into deeper and deeper trouble. Sandler spends two hours at the centre of a spiralling, self-inflicted catastrophe involving Ethiopian opals, big-money bets and knuckle-cracking debt collectors. The plot is filled with a sense of mounting distress, reflected and heightened by the way it’s told: the camera ducks and weaves restlessly, voices yell over each other and jockey for our attention, garish interiors assault our eyes, discordant music fades in and out, diamond necklaces sparkle luridly, doors jam at vital moments.

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