Adam Sandler is completely immersed in the manic mode of an insatiable edge-junkie gambler in Josh and Benny Safdie‘s Uncut Gems. For this is a hyper, hammerhead experience that, unlike Karl Reisz and James Toback‘s The Gambler or Abel Ferrara‘s Bad Lieutenant, has zero interest in looking or reaching beyond the hustling mood-rush aspects of his character’s wildly self-destructive addiction.
It’s all frenzy, all movement, all “no, wait…you know I’m good for it” or “no, man, c’mon…I put the bet down before that shit happened.” He owes, he bullshits, he runs around, he bullshits some more….homina homina bullshit bullshit junkie highs flashing as the walls move in closer and closer.
If you know anything about the gambling disease you know it’s never about winning — it’s about the rush journey…the bolt, the buzz and the tasting of doom and salvation in the exact same breath. It is therefore hugely exasperating to sit through because the Safdies don’t want to go anywhere. A certain thing happens at the very end, and when it did I immediately muttered “thank God.”