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Non-Review Review: Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems is a two-hour panic attack. And it’s brilliant.

Uncut Gems is a propulsive tension engine. The film follows the wheeling and dealing of Howard Ratner. Ratner operates a jewellery story in Manhattan’s Diamond District, but his real passion is gambling. Have accrued considerable debts, Howard concocts a simple plan to clear the slate. Smuggling in a rare black opal from East Africa, Howard plans to auction it and use the proceeds to settle up with his creditors. Naturally, things quickly spiral out of control as Howard’s impulsiveness and competitiveness get the better of him, pushing him to greater and greater lengths.

Off the chain.

Anxiety permeates Uncut Gems. Howard is a free-wheeling opportunist defined largely by his recklessness and his resilience, but his self-assuredness stands in contrast to the experience of watching Uncut Gems. As the film unfolds, the audience (and Howard) understands how fragile Howard’s elaborate improvisations truly are. Almost every scene in Uncut Gems threatens to bring Howard’s house of cards around his ears. Even the film’s triumphant and celebratory moments feel uncomfortable, as the audience and the protagonist wrestle with how precarious it all is.

Uncut Gems is a triumph, a shining diamond.

This diamond is about to get roughed up.

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