The Truth Behind Uncut Gems: The Controversies, The Stories, The Rundown
“Uncut Gems” hints at the connection between forging a beautiful gem inside the earth and the protagonist’s (Howard) internal turmoil. However, friction isn’t always proven to create diamonds.
This R-rated movie by the Safdie brothers is a necessary, anxiety-inducing cinematic piece.
Is Uncut Gems a true portrait of a gambler?
“Uncut Gems” was inspired by the Safdie brothers’ own father, who worked in the Diamond District of Manhattan, New York.
Although this is not a documentary or a full-fledged biography, the movie serves as a fantastic peek into the life of a New York hustler.
Let’s explore how similar is Howard to regular people who play today at land-based casinos or who gamble regularly at remote alternatives online, around the world?
Sports betting plays its own role in the film
You can see him betting at the movie’s beginning, when he rigs a match and knowingly bets on it.
Betting on a fixed game isn’t a new strategy, though. This practice also tends to happen in the real world, aided by instant messaging and remote staking through online betting sites.
Sports betting addiction
Although Howard Ratner is obviously an addicted gambler who can’t find his way out, this dependency is never verbalised by Howard at any point in the movie.
However, watching the protagonist of “Uncut Gems” makes it hard to unsee the sports betting addiction. He influences a match, on which he places a bet, by lending the unparalleled gem as a lucky charm to Kevin Garnett, an NBA star.
His following bet also revolves around Kevin Garnett’s NBA team’s victory. Howard’s opportunistic nature and knowledge of calculating the most significant profitability margin take him over again.
What Uncut Gems got right
The critics’ comments about “Uncut Gems” reveal people’s fascination with Howard Ratner, the diamond dealer.
Although you might feel inclined to disagree with the main character, his charm and atypical behavior attract our attention and manage to keep it.
This type of magnetism works perfectly with him being a New York hustler.
The main character
“Uncut Gems” has the advantage of bringing a big story aided by smaller stories originating from the same point – Howard’s restlessness and drive.
He plays the “hustling games” as a poet
He fabricates stories for everything, even regarding his betting tickets.
Whether you believe the story of Uncut Gems or not, the Safdie brothers managed to single out Howard’s experience and relationships in every corner of his life.
This, in turn, leaves the viewer to enjoy a story that fabricates itself as the protagonist moves through his reality.
What do people think?
- One user on Rotten Tomatoes describes this movie as ” (…)an unforgettable film that plays out like a pulse-pounding Greek tragedy set in 2010s New York.”
- Richard Crouse, a Canadian critic, writes:” Sandler brings his natural likability to the role but layers it with Howard’s neurosis, frustration, conniving, and even joy. It’s a remarkable performance powered by jet fuel.”
- Lastly, another reviewer declares:” ‘Uncut Gems’ is one of the most unnerving and strangely exhilarating films of recent times.”
The Portrait of an unyielding gambler
Talking about Howard as a passionate gambler implies knowing he has an addiction. However, his dependency is never accepted as a problem or even recognised throughout the movie.
This is because Howard Rather’s gambling addiction is pathological
Whenever he sees the opportunity to grab more than he invests, his reward system seems to be triggered, and he can’t help himself.
“I made a crazy risk, a gamble, and it’s about to pay off”
Howard’s optimism and almost surreal enthusiasm is his weapon here. He may not always win, but he will not give up trying.
At the same time, he seems to be caught in an emotional loop that renders him unable to grow emotionally. One might say that he doesn’t need it, though.
Howard Ratner and Dinah
This pair is clearly made for the big screens.
During the movie, Howard Ratner and his soon-to-be ex-wife, Dinah, are going through a divorce.
You can even deduct that part since Dinah hates her ex-husband’s guts, which she constantly wants Howard to know.
Dinah: Uncut Gems’ powerhouse
Dinah is a powerful woman and a loving mother. You can easily observe that at the movie’s beginning, when she insists her husband kisses their son goodnight.
When Howard pleads with her to get back together and forget about the divorce under hidden pretences, Dina sternly refuses, laughing in his face.
She even tells Howard he’s the most annoying man alive
Her multiple reality checks for Howard and strong character seem to oppose the main features of other characters. She’s a truth-teller and the only one who can successfully face Howard.
She also has that something special, which gives Howard his drive and convictions.
Is Uncut Gems worth watching?
If you like watching anxiety-triggering pieces of cinematography, this movie is definitely worth watching.
Plus, if you’re not yet familiar with the Safdie brothers but enjoy thrilling action, frantic plot twists, or stressful situations, this team of brothers is what you want.
“Uncut Gems” captures that atmosphere perfectly. Its characters are diverse and exciting, the story develops in a realistic yet poetic way, and the dialogues are brilliant.
And although you wouldn’t expect it, comedic scenes also release the accumulated tension, only to supply it afterwards heavily.