'Uncut Gems' Is a Two-Hour Heart Attack About Bad People and Capitalism

The mile-a-minute film takes both a micro and macro view of Capitalism and the collateral damage that chasing ever increasing profits causes.
Photograph from Uncut Gems teaser one sheet. Adam Sandler, wearing glasses, holds his hand agains his lower lip to keep it from bleeding. he has a cut next to his left eye and a tissue in his right nostril.
Image courtesy of A24

If there's one thing the internet at large has said about Uncut Gems, it's that it's extremely anxiety inducing. People have posted heart rates from FitBits showing wild spikes, and needing something to calm them down to get through it. Like much of the internet, it's easy to think this is mostly hyperbole, but after experiencing it first hand, we at Waypoint Radio can confirm they weren't joking. What really makes Uncut Gems special isn't just its expertly crafted, frenetic, and at times claustrophobic movie making, but the critique of capitalism and its influence on the people stuck within it. Join the Waypoint Radio crew as they discuss different readings of its message, the meta-textual casting, and which scenes made them the most anxious.


Spoilers for Uncut Gems below.

Rob: A lot of what makes being good actor is reacting to things, and how you react and listen. And Garnett proves to be a great listener, because you see several realizations play across his face in that scene. One of them is the realization of how wild Howie is, of how just off, how unhinged Howie is, and how pathological he is.

Austin: And that is the opening question, when when they sit down across from each other at the desk. [Garnett is] like "Howie, what is up with you, man? There is something else happening here out of sight for me, what is going on?"

Rob: And Howie is so aroused by his speech that by the end of it, he's like "You're feeling it too, right?" And it is this like, sexualized moment where he's like–

Austin: "Let's win together."

Rob: Yeah, he's like "Let's do this together." And what he means by "do this" is "let's get in some action together. You're gonna fucking destroy Philly tonight." And he starts writing up his bet for that night. And Garnett is like "what the fuck is happening?"

Gita: Howie is just so fucking high on his own supply in that moment he just goes on an immediate tear where he's like "I'm gonna double this money that I just got."

Austin: Which we know he already called Arno at that point to say he had the money.

Cado: The goons and Arno are–

Austin: Are outside, basically–

Cado: Yeah, you see them on the fucking CCTV, as he's saying this to Kevin Garnett!


Gita: That was another moment where I had to [stop.] I was watching it with my boyfriend in bed and I was like "David I gotta pause it. I gotta go to the bathroom. I can't!"

Cado: I just thought "This motherfucker. Just pay off, use the extra, pay him off first! [getting increasingly anxious] Pay him off first! AHHH!"

Austin: Right! Right!

Rob: But Instead of doing that Cado, what if instead, Julia leans out the window of the adjoining office–

Cado: Fucking christ!

Gita: Oh my god!

Austin: And they pass the bag [full of $175k in cash].

Rob: And he passes the bag to her. And he's like

Rob and Cado: "I booked you a Blade!"

Rob: I was like, what the fuck is a Blade?

Cado: [through wheezing laughter] It's a fucking helicopter!

Rob: Do people in New York know what that is? Because I've never heard of it.

Austin: No. It's a helicopter.

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