When he's given good material, like Paul Thomas Anderson's "Punch Drunk Love," or Noah Baumbach's "The Meyerowitz Stories" (to name just a few), he's as good as it gets.

Like vintage 70s horror, Uncut Gems begins with an eerie prologue showing this occult stone being discovered deep underground. Uncut Gems isn't exactly an enjoyable experience - it's stressful and hectic and anxiety-provoking. In a delusion, your brain is a cage, and you are your own prison guard, monitoring the perimeters of allowable thought. "Uncut Gems" shows this electrified-fence feedback loop like no other film in recent memory. And since the sale of the opal will set everything right, it of course immediately goes missing, throwing every aspect of Howard’s existence into chaos. In a recent conversation between Adam Sandler and Brad Pitt for Variety's Actors on Actors series, Pitt observed that even though Howard makes all these bad choices in "Uncut Gems," you worry about the guy. He has now installed his sexy, vocal-fry-toned employee Julia (Julia Fox) in a cheesily decorated bachelor apartment in the city. And all the time the film is in a state of deafening cacophonous uproar: the white noise in poor Howard’s head is displaced into the streets, the clubs, the sports arenas where his terrible humiliation is to be played out. This will be the year’s most exciting film. Howard smiles. So is his mistress, who also suffers from a form of "gold sickness.” It is their main bond. But there’s also his vinegary wife Dinah (Idina Menzel) and their three children to worry about, living in a triumphantly crass Long Island mansion – oh, and his hot-stuff mistress Julia (Julia Fox), who resides rent-free in his absurd Manhattan pied-à-terre, with its Duran-Duran-meets-Darth-Vader decor. Sandler’s superb performance shows how Howard has what amounts to a superpower – his optimism, his toxic gift of the gab, his deranged delusional cheerfulness and his refusal to be fazed or scared by things that would reduce ordinary people to jelly. Tolkien in The Hobbit), the hypnotic power of gems luring men into madness since the beginning of time, seeking pirate's gold, El Dorado, the Holy Grail, on doomed colonialist adventures. This is metaphor writ so large it's brazen, a theme hammered home with refreshing rhetorical candor. He never stops striving, scheming, shouting, hustling. The Safdies are native New Yorkers, raised in the city’s Jewish community in the 1980s and 90s – Josh is 35, Benny 33 – and they have spent their careers to date somehow finding previously unseen ways to shoot perhaps the most extensively filmed city on Earth.

Co-written by the Safdies and regular collaborator Ronald Bronstein, "Uncut Gems" immerses you in Howard's nutty cacophonous world.

Available for everyone, funded by readers. It conjures up the work of James Toback and John Cassavetes – and indeed early Martin Scorsese, who is an executive producer here.
The Safdies' "Heaven Knows What" was documentary-like in its approach, but their follow-up "Good Time" was a race-against-the-clock thriller, its action sprawling over the five boroughs. There's the hope that once he pays it all off, he'll wipe the slate clean, and repair some of the bridges he's burned. “They say you can see the whole universe in opals, that’s how old they are,” Howard tells the basketball star Kevin Garnett – playing himself – who has been brought in to peruse the bling by Howard’s streetwise fixer Demany (Lakeith Stanfield). His daughter can barely tolerate him. He never stops talking.

His assistant Demany (LaKeith Stanfield) hustles clients who might be interested in the flashy items in Howard's inventory, and the latest lure is Boston Celtics star Kevin Garnett (playing himself), waiting in the shop when Howard returns from the colonoscopy. The stone is as yet unrefined, but its rainbow refractions exert a mesmerising pull. It's excruciating and exhilarating. You hear people expressing surprise when Sandler gives a good performance. The nerve endings are so frayed they need the stress. And that's the thing about addiction, the thing that "Uncut Gems" really understands. Uncut Gems review – this sparkler will be the most exciting film of the year 5 / 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars. Howard's jewelry shop in New York's Diamond District is a tiny space with the atmosphere of a three-ring circus. The images on the hospital monitor look similar to the fantastical space of the opal's innards, its curves and layers. But everyone around Howard knows this is a fantasy. The Safdies have cast as their leading man Adam Sandler who gives a glorious, career-best turn as a fast-talking Manhattan diamond dealer called Howard Ratner (dare we hope for a cheeky reference to the British jeweller Gerald? All rights reserved.

“Real old-school, Middle Earth s___.”. The Safdies use New York City in ways that haven't been seen since films in the '70s. © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. Veteran cinematographer Darius Khondji (a changeup from the Safdies' regular collaboration with Sean Price Williams) brings out the sickly gleam in this world, the green-fuzz of the interior lighting, the glamour of some of the interiors juxtaposed with the sleaze of the others. Howard is always on the go, always running out of rooms, racing down sidewalks, charging across lobbies. Deals are reneged on, deadlines missed, deeply unpleasant types enraged. This sensationally good New York crime drama is rocket-fuelled with greed and crack-fumed with fear. “That’s a million dollar opal you’re holding,” the jeweller says. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. In its unforced, gripping, black-comic chaos, Uncut Gems resembles nothing so much as a super-violent, feature-length episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. These people mean business. Howard, too, is old-school to the bone.

Howard is useless without panic. On some level, the stress is the point. It's more like a virtual-reality game where you step into Howard's experience. It is Pitt's contention that this is because of Sandler's "warm-heartedness," something you always feel, no matter the material. His wife (Idina Menzel) seethes with hatred for him. ), sporting a black leather jacket, dark glasses, earrings and an ingratiating, unreliable grin.

He has a sideline in taking customers’ valuable pieces of jewellery for supposed repair (a kitsch figure of the crucified Michael Jackson being a case in point) but actually using them as collateral for huge mob loans that he will then bet on pro sports: usually basketball, with which he is obsessed. He tells Garnett about how he feels connected to the Ethiopian Jews who dig up the opals, and his enthusiasm is so passionate it's catching. This is not a "cautionary tale" about the dangers of gambling. Its arrival has been keenly awaited for the past 17 months, because hidden inside its stomach cavity is a 4,500-carat black opal. for pervasive strong language, violence, some sexual content and brief drug use. • Uncut Gems is released in the UK on 10 January and on Netflix on 31 January. Even the Academy…Well, they probably did, but not enough to get Adam Sandler an Oscar nomination. Howard saying "yes" is the first of the many, many terrible choices he makes over the next 135 minutes. Find out more, The Telegraph values your comments but kindly requests all posts are on topic, constructive and respectful. ‘The longest suicide in Hollywood history’: who was the real Montgomery Clift. His addiction is too entrenched. Howard is looking to make a fat profit with an illegally imported black opal from Ethiopia, the equivalent of a “blood diamond” but a stone of mythical import and rarity that fascinates Howard’s biggest celeb customer: NBA megastar Kevin Garnett (playing himself) who is capriciously convinced that this is an anti-kryptonite rock that guarantees victory on the basketball court. Read our community guidelines in full, The latest offers and discount codes from popular brands on Telegraph Voucher Codes, Martin Scorsese’s New York films of the 1970s and 1980s, Madness, gaslighting and abuse: the dark story behind Shirley Jackson's Hangsaman, What’s on TV tonight: Count Basie Through His Own Eyes, The Queen’s Gambit and more, Thom Zimny on filming Bruce Springsteen, and why John Lennon got The Boss all wrong, Which new films to watch at the cinema and stream online now, ‘Your politics ought to be groovier’: 10 celebrities who tried to become US president, 10,000 cut roses and 7,000 potted plants: meet the man who grew the original Secret Garden, Summer of 85, review: how first love can feel like a matter of life-and-death, Herman J Mankiewicz: the alcoholic ‘loser-genius’ who co-wrote Citizen Kane, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, review: Trump rallies, ugly songs and some truly rotten jokes, The Witches review: this sappy, CGI-soaked remake is an embarrassment to Roald Dahl, Wicked, hilarious and problematic: how Ali G made a fool out of Britain, Football fans and blood balloons: how Aaron Sorkin recreated the 1968 Chicago riots, The Secret Garden, review: get your family to the cinema for a sparkling Covid antidote, The best 100 movies to watch on Netflix UK.

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