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Adam Sandler has delivered impressive dramatic work before, most notably in the films Punch-Drunk Love (2002), The Meyerowitz Stories (2017), and Funny People (2008), which was as thought-provoking as it was funny.
But he has never gotten the type of awards buzz he's generated thus far for Uncut Gems, a frenzied, anxiety-inducing, visceral experience of a movie directed by brothers Josh and Benny Safdie (Good Times). After premiering at the Telluride Film Festival in August and collecting more accolades at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, the film now has its first official trailer, which you can watch above.
Sandler stars as Howard Ratner, an increasingly desperate New York City jeweler with severe gambling debts, a crumbling marriage and a secret young girlfriend (Julia Fox) who sees the opportunity for a Big Score when he brokers a deal with NBA star Kevin Garnett (playing a heightened version of himself).
The Saturday Night Live alum delivers a go-for-broke performance, both literally and figuratively. He shouts and schemes his way through dire scenarios in a seedy Manhattan underworld in a film that's pulsating tempo rarely relents. And despite making one terrible, reckless decision after the next, plunging him further into no-win territory, still somehow proves worth rooting for throughout the action.
It could be because Sandler himself has become something of an underdog in the film world — as much as a comedy star with a multimillion-dollar deal at Netflix can be. Since he first broke out on Saturday Night Live and began making his own big-screen star vehicles in the early '90s, Sandler has been a regular punching bag for movie critics, and that's only ratcheted up over the years.
That may have hurt his standing with Oscar voters in years past, but can they deny what may be a career best performance from “The Sandman” in Uncut Gems? Stay tuned.
Uncut Gems opens Dec. 13.
Watch Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston talk about Murder Mystery:
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