A massive part of what makes the theatrical experience so amazing is its ability to transport an audience to whole new worlds. When a film is really clicking and a crowd is totally locked into what’s happening on the big screen, it generates a unique and wonderful palpable atmosphere, and there’s nothing else like it on earth. Movies that are able to perfectly pull this off are special, and the upcoming UNCUT GEMS is a perfect example — which is why writer/director brothers Benny and Josh Safdie are urging cinephiles to see it on the big screen.
AMC recently spoke with the two filmmakers behind the new Adam Sandler-led thriller, and they provided a beautiful argument for why their latest film truly needs to be seen in a theatre where you can be surrounded by people. Whether it’s a massive crowd or a smaller one, part of the joy of UNCUT GEMS, according to Josh Safdie, is going on the emotional roller coaster ride with a room full of fellow thrill-seekers:
"I've watched a lot of movies in a lot of theatres, obviously, but I've watched this movie in particular with a crowd of 200; a crowd of 1,200; a crowd of, like 50; and it always feels like it's one collective mass. And that feeling of watching this movie with a crowd is... the laughter and the tension that builds collectively is like — the only I can liken it to is when you see a horror film and you feel the jump scares."
Continuing, Josh Safdie provided a fantastic anecdotal story that he heard from someone who saw the film and had an odd interaction with his seat neighbor:
"Someone told me yesterday that a complete stranger grabbed their knee during the movie. That boundary breaking is fascinating to me, because everyone's in it on this character, and everyone is in it on this plot. Seeing it with an audience is like a 4D experience. You can feel the collective, like, lean and crunch of the film."
Co-written and directed by Josh and Benny Safdie, UNCUT GEMS tells the story of Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a jeweler operating in New York who finds himself trapped in a unique situation. Being a gambling addict, he owes serious debts to some dangerous people, but he believes that his fortune will turn around thanks to the arrival of a special stone that he has been working to get for months. Doing some wheeling and dealing that involves NBA star Kevin Garnett and his diamond-studded championship ring, Howard stacks bets on top of bets trying to hit big, all the while ignoring the fact that if anything goes wrong, everything will be destroyed.
As you may have guessed, Howard isn’t a particularly likable individual, but his charisma is undeniable, and UNCUT GEMS has a particular magic in that it entrances you to root for him to win. When everything is on the line, you’re holding your breath, and Benny Safdie recognizes that as a special element of experiencing the film with a crowd:
"There's something amazing about, like, if something is really stressful, you can actually look to the person next to you in there. They'll actually have a bonding moment. There's a moment where it's stressful, where you're like, 'Oh, my God, I don't know what to do.' If you look to the person next to you, you can get into it and like, 'OK, OK, this is just there,' and you move through it. It's a thrilling experience."
Watch our full interview with the Safdie brothers here:
UNCUT GEMS arrives in theatres in limited release December 13 and will go wide on Christmas Day.