Uncut Gems

Uncut Gems

Volcanic slipperiness across anamorphic tableaux, somehow new age-y, a lot of inside-out thinking, boundaries, pointedly addicted to its own supply of crazy. One-ups PTA on borrowing from Altman by using the old man's audio layering ideas to build a cacophonic world. Khondji is a master at making it look like there weren't actual lights; no idea how they kept anamorphic lenses in focus on the steadicam so well. Still, less about "images" so much as composition and energy. All the signs are there for Howard but like all Safdies characters he's too myopic, or just too focused on the wrong thing. There's nothing aspirational here. Julia Fox makes a thankless part fun, vibrant, worthy of plenty; Idina Menzel has a real moment to own but just the one. It's the Sandman show, a termite actor encouraged to eat. That appetite for the win shines through the shades by way of the grin. And, last: KG acquits himself.

(Regal Jack London, Oakland)

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