Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems ★★★★½

this loses some of the immediacy that carried the last 2 Safdie films, but their switch in dp to Darius Khondji both pulls them closer to the new hollywood style they're often compared to while creating more of a dissonance between their hyper-contemporary point of view and their obsession with the past (whether the cultural details of 6 years ago, or the film style of 40 years ago). their eye for composition has vastly improved with the help of Khondji, and the editing taking a step down from Good Time's fully breakneck pace allows more time to absorb all the moving parts in these very dense frames.

the period recreation is incredibly precise, and show that the Safdies were/are keeping an eye on all of the cultural shifts around them. the archival footage of that playoff series with its already-vintage espn graphics, KG's classic pregame scream, and Mike Francesa as a high-powered bookie who uses his angry radio voice for every line delivery. from Sandler's iPhone (never thought i'd see the sandman text "r u wet?") to the rap scene, ("Amen" by the pre-beef combo of drake/meek, early weeknd, trinidad james, "Swimming Pools") it truly does feel like i logged into seven years ago.

there's no pepe the frog on an acid tab to stamp this as a film of the Current Moment, but the way that the Safdies are able to look back at such a recent period and use it as a cultural playground as well as a launching pad for both drama and cultural critique earns them the spot of the most contemporary american filmmakers.

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