Print this post Print this post

Uncut Gems

1,289 words

When I left the theater after watching the Safdie brother’s film Uncut Gems, I wanted to take a shower to get all the sleaze off of me. In many ways this is a revolting picture, yet still educational and somewhat red-pilling if approached from the proper mindset. Along with starring NBA basketball star Kevin Garnett as himself, the film’s biggest selling point is the appearance of comic actor Adam Sandler in his first gritty, dramatic role. From a technical standpoint, Uncut Gems offers believable performances in an unrelenting and well-edited story with a creepy synth soundtrack and enough cinema vérité in New York City’s Diamond District to make it a highly memorable experience. But not memorable in a good way.

Spoilers galore below, but only because this is the kind of film better known about than actually seen.

The story focuses on Howard Ratner (Sandler), an identifiable Jew who struggles to run a jewelry store while paying back around $100,000 in debt to his brother-in-law Arno. Played by a menacingly dead-eyed Eric Bogosian, Arno is a mobster and loan shark who spends most of the film chasing Howard down with his goons. But Howard has other troubles, such as putting up with his resentful wife Dinah (Idina Menzel), dealing with his shifty shiksa mistress (Julia Fox), trying to retrieve an expensive opal he stupidly loaned to Garnett, and keeping a lid on his gambling addiction, which is the real source of all his problems.

The point of the plot, essentially, is to watch Howard swirl down the drain as everything negative in his life seems to swish and slosh at him from all sides. What sets Uncut Gems apart from other underworld dramas—aside from its repulsive Jewishness—is that Howard has flashes of insight that reveal an independent mind, albeit one hampered by an addictive personality, poor impulse control, and a pathological penchant for degeneracy. Perhaps this is what the Safdie brothers Josh and Benny were counting on to make the audience sympathize their lead character. It’s not nearly enough.

Howard’s main stroke of genius is to infer the existence of a highly valuable black opal in Ethiopia based on his research on a tribe of African Jews in the region. He’s ecstatic seemingly to the point of orgasm when the opal arrives. This is not an overstatement. At least twice in the film a windfall causes Howard to moan as if experiencing a sexual climax—a disgusting character trait if there ever was one. Howard plans to sell the opal at an auction for $1.2 million, but reluctantly lends it to a superstitious Garnett who wants it for luck during one of his playoff games. Howard is a passionate and studious sports fan who is in thrall of Garnett when he and his posse show up at his store. In fact, Howard caters to low-class blacks and employs one of them to lure them into his store so he can fleece them with tacky jewelry.

The cacophonous scenes in the jewelry store are headache-inducing. Howard’s black customers continually shout over each other while haggling, gesturing, arguing, pushing, shoving, and dropping a B-52’s worth of F- and N-bombs every thirty seconds. I’m sure that these scenes are quite accurate, but they are also the reason why many white people dislike both blacks and Jews. Blacks behave in beastly, petty, and stupid ways, and Jews cater to them for money.

The plot takes a sharp turn when Howard pawns Garnett’s championship ring (which he had left for collateral) in order to bet on Garnett’s playoff game. So this is Howard: making bets with money that isn’t his while constantly staying one step ahead of his Mafioso creditors—who, by the way, are showing remarkable patience with Howard given how far into the red he is with them.

There’s absolutely nothing redeeming about Howard Ratner. His wife knows it. She’s tasteless and vain but still can barely look at him. His kids know it. One is insolent and dismissive to him to his face, and the others seem to aspire to his level of hedonism. His mistress may not know it. Then again, she’s the kind of girl who lets a black entertainer named The Weeknd snort coke off her tits in a public restroom and later tattoos Howard’s name on her ass.

Is there a single honest, upstanding person in this movie?

Not Howard’s father-in-law Gooey. After an Orthodox Jewish ceremony, Howard convinces Gooey (played by Judd Hirsch) to shill for him at the auction in order to jack up the price of his opal. Perhaps the only honest fellow here is an unnamed Jew who pesters Howard from time to time for his money back on a bad Rolex he had sold him. But this guy is a schlemiel, and Howard blows him off without trouble.

The story reveals its black, twisted soul towards the end when Howard invites Garnett into his office and finally manages to sell him the opal. Garnett shells out $175,000 for it since it had been downgraded at the auction. Immediately after, he presses Howard for how much he had paid to acquire it from Africa. Howard plays coy for a while but eventually coughs up an answer. $100,000. (Probably a lie, knowing Howard.) This annoys Garnett who now sticks up for his fellow blacks in Africa. Howard paid them less than one-tenth of what he thought he could sell the opal for. How could Howard do such a thing to those poor suffering brothers? Howard responds by asking Garnett if he’d rather win a game by one point or thirty. He basically tells him that while the basketball court is Garnett’s territory, the jewelry business is his, and the point of it all is to win, to destroy your competition and to rake in as much as possible for yourself.

That evening, Howard gets what was coming to him: a bullet in the face from one of Arno’s goons. They had finally had enough. It didn’t matter that Howard, genius that was, had just placed perhaps the greatest sports bet of all time and stood to make millions. Money was not going to help him as he lay bleeding out on his shop floor.

Yeah, there’s a reason why greed is listed as one of the seven deadly sins.

Anyway, I’m struggling to find any redeeming quality in Uncut Gems other than making the job of anti-Semites a little bit easier. The film has no moral core and serves only to offend the sensibilities of its audience, if they even have those. As the door slams shut on Michael Corleone at the end of The Godfather, we mourn the loss of his soul. As Henry Hill picks up his egg noodles and ketchup at the end of Goodfellas, we laugh at the irony of his life. Uncut Gems, however, completely lacks the cinematic vision of a Coppola or Scorsese, and so we are left wondering why the film was made to begin with.

Sure, the film is based in reality. But there is a lot of reality we don’t need to spend thirty bucks and two-and-a-half hours of our life on, such as the video feed from Howard Ratner’s colonoscopy. I am certain that if Mel Gibson had directed this film, Jews would have been lining up in protest, screeching about anti-Semitism. I guess if something is to hit this close to home, you’d rather have one of your own doing the hitting. And Uncut Gems hits Jews very hard.

Most of us already know that some of the nastier stereotypes about Jews are based in truth. All that Sandler and the Safdie brothers accomplish in Uncut Gems is to remove any doubt about them.

 

16 Comments

  1. Emblematic
    Posted January 2, 2020 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    Actually sounds kind of interesting.

    • Steven JW
      Posted January 2, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      I thought so too. Disgusting and vile but at least it’s not another film of a Jewish man playing a white man oppressing minorities or spinning some utopian diverse future.

      Seems like a relatively telling or honest look at Jewish life.
      The repulsive shiksa is probably quite accurate as well.

      • Spencer J. Quinn
        Posted January 2, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        Steven JW,

        Your comment reminds me that Uncut Gems is by no way anti-white. There is nothing here that offends on that front, and I regret not mentioning that in my review. The film offends my sense of taste as a human being, let alone a white one. One can say it is anti-Jew and to a lesser extent anti-black. But it doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know about aspects of both groups.

  2. Alex
    Posted January 2, 2020 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    What are the odds Gooey was a slumlord ? I can’t decide if it’s realistic or not that he would charge his son in law 20% interest for a few days on $190k.

  3. Rob
    Posted January 2, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    Movies that Jews make about themselves or unintentionally revealing.

    Here’s a few recommendations.

    Heights (2005) with Glenn Close. This has I believe anti-semitic Easter eggs in it such as the scene where Ian opens and door and it’s a beautiful church. Also a rabbi tries to break up an interfaith couple and calls the gentile girl a shiksa behind her back of course

    The Tollbooth

    People I Know

    • Spencer J. Quinn
      Posted January 3, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Rob, will check these out. Thanks.

  4. Hubbub
    Posted January 2, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I watched through the opening scenes – the jewelry store – that was enough. Too much jew for me and every bit fits the stereotype. Is it anti-semitic if it’s true to life?

    • Spencer J. Quinn
      Posted January 3, 2020 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      Hubbub,

      It seems that only the Jews themselves can determine what is anti-Semitic depending on whom they disapprove of. The truth has nothing to do with it.

  5. Stephen E Dalton
    Posted January 2, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    You’re right about this film being sleeze. It was like the only words the characters ever learned was f–k, or n—-r. I’ve heard foul langauge all my life, but this movie was a tidal wave of filth! I’ll never go to another movie again unless I check out a review first. I don’t ever want to be verbally assaulted eith filth like this ever sgain!

    • Spencer J. Quinn
      Posted January 3, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      Yes, the film was gross. But red-pilling. I can see David Duke reviewing it by saying, “I told you so!”

  6. Headz
    Posted January 2, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    This Movie is Jud Süß Part II
    it follows all the same story points. They even build in “ouh god my glasses” and strangulation and in the end the Jew gets what he deserves.

    • Spencer J. Quinn
      Posted January 3, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      Except that Jud Süß shows how ambitious and unscrupulous Jews can corrupt gentile (or Christian) society while Uncut Gems shows how ambitious and unscrupulous Jews corrupt themselves. At least in Jud Süß there is a non-corrupted Jew (Rabbi Löw) who opposes Süß. In Uncut Gems, *all* the Jews are portrayed badly.

      But you are right in that both stories portray the worst of Jewish stereotypes as real and demonstrate the danger they present. It should also be noted that both stories were originally written by Jews themselves.

  7. SR Scott
    Posted January 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    I see this film as being in the same vein as the Coen brothers films Barton Fink and A Serious Man. A film made by jews, about jews, which is critical of jews.

    The symbolism seems reasonably clear to me. Near the beginning of the movie the camera zooms into a clear section of the opal and we go on a kaleidoscopic journey which becomes muddy. When it resolves itself the viewer finds itself inside Ratner’s sigmoidoscope test. From an African mine to a jewish a**hole. This symbolism is rammed home at the end when the camera zooms into Ratner’s gunshot wound and we get the same kaleidoscope effects seen in the beginning of the movie.

    To me the point of this film is that jews only befriend gullible and superstitious blacks in order to use them for their own ends, which is of course what they try to do with everyone else.

  8. Lord Shang
    Posted January 9, 2020 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    Hahahaha! I just saw this film, and intend to see it again (though I’ll try to theater hop). Mind you, that is because I had to take a very important call right before the scene with Garnett taking the opal. That must have been a long scene as I was out of the theater for at least 15 minutes. But I mostly figured everything out after (though I also unusually had to hit the restroom at one point, so I likely missed some nuances).

    Still, I LOVE movies like this. I see them as quasi-“anthropological” in taking me into worlds with which I have nothing in common, and to which I otherwise have no access. Most of it seemed fairly realistic, although probably no one would be so reckless with violent people’s money as Sandler’s character.

    The best part of the movie was its Jewishness, esp how bad it made Jews look. Quinn is correct: if this were made by an Aryan, the ADL would be screaming for his head. But Quinn is incorrect that the film has no redeeming quality beyond Judeo-red-pilling. I thought it was intense and exciting. It will keep your interest. I think that’s something these days.

    • Spencer J. Quinn
      Posted January 9, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      Hi Lord Shang,

      “I thought it was intense and exciting. It will keep your interest.”

      I agree. Technically, the film is strong. I was just so revolted by the near-complete lack of a moral framework in the main character and those around him that I ceased to care about him. I couldn’t help feeling like Travis Bickle (“Some day a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets”) and mourn what’s happening to our country. Bickle was a flawed guy, but at least he operated within a moral framework. Ratner did not. I was relieved when he was killed in the end and I was relieved when the movie was over.

  9. bluto
    Posted January 11, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    …the appearance of comic actor Adam Sandler in his first gritty, dramatic role.

    Not quite, he was in Punch Drunk Love years ago, which was also a depressive wankfest. It’s billed as a ‘romantic comedy’ but i don’t remember laughing even once when i saw it. There’s a lot of shouting and awful people being awful.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.
 
Comments are moderated. If you don't see your comment, please be patient. If approved, it will appear here soon. Do not post your comment a second time.
 
Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • Our Titles

    White Identity Politics

    The World in Flames

    The White Nationalist Manifesto

    From Plato to Postmodernism

    The Gizmo

    Return of the Son of Trevor Lynch's CENSORED Guide to the Movies

    Toward a New Nationalism

    The Smut Book

    The Alternative Right

    My Nationalist Pony

    Dark Right: Batman Viewed From the Right

    The Philatelist

    Novel Folklore

    Confessions of an Anti-Feminist

    East and West

    Though We Be Dead, Yet Our Day Will Come

    White Like You

    The Homo and the Negro, Second Edition

    Numinous Machines

    Venus and Her Thugs

    Cynosura

    North American New Right, vol. 2

    You Asked For It

    More Artists of the Right

    Extremists: Studies in Metapolitics

    Rising

    The Importance of James Bond

    In Defense of Prejudice

    Confessions of a Reluctant Hater (2nd ed.)

    The Hypocrisies of Heaven

    Waking Up from the American Dream

    Green Nazis in Space!

    Truth, Justice, and a Nice White Country

    Heidegger in Chicago

    The End of an Era

    Sexual Utopia in Power

    What is a Rune? & Other Essays

    Son of Trevor Lynch's White Nationalist Guide to the Movies

    The Lightning & the Sun

    The Eldritch Evola

    Western Civilization Bites Back

    New Right vs. Old Right

    Lost Violent Souls

    Journey Late at Night: Poems and Translations

    The Non-Hindu Indians & Indian Unity

    Baader Meinhof ceramic pistol, Charles Kraaft 2013

    Jonathan Bowden as Dirty Harry

    The Lost Philosopher, Second Expanded Edition

    Trevor Lynch's A White Nationalist Guide to the Movies

    And Time Rolls On

    The Homo & the Negro

    Artists of the Right

    North American New Right, Vol. 1

    Some Thoughts on Hitler

    Tikkun Olam and Other Poems

    Under the Nihil

    Summoning the Gods

    Hold Back This Day

    The Columbine Pilgrim

    Confessions of a Reluctant Hater

    Taking Our Own Side

    Toward the White Republic

    Distributed Titles

    Reuben

    The Node

    The New Austerities

    Morning Crafts

    The Passing of a Profit & Other Forgotten Stories

    Gold in the Furnace

    Defiance