The insanity of one scene in Uncut Gems encapsulates the entire movie. Let's dissect how the Safdies did it.
One of the greatest thing about Uncut Gems is how it never feels like it's slowing down. From the first frame till the fade-out, we're on an insane ride that feels like a snowball traveling downhill.
There are many scenes in the movie, but one in particular that encapsulates everything we love about the film. So let's dig right into it.
Check out this video from The Royal Ocean Film Society and let's talk after the jump.
What Was the Most Chaotic Scene in 'Uncut Gems'?
Late in the second act of Uncut Gems we have a scene in Howard's office that's the perfect cacophony of action. Howard is waiting on results from his colonoscopy, he's recently pawned Kevin Garnett's ring, and he and his mistress are on the outs. He's threatened legal action on Garnett, who borrowed his opal, and he still has loan sharks coming around trying to get him.
Suddenly, Garnett shows up and wants his ring back, he gets a call from his doctor, his mistress is on the other line, then Garnett's lawyer calls, and the loan sharks show up. Oh, and Garnett is stuck in the magnetized door of Howard's office.
That's a lot on his mind. And assaulting the audience.
The theme of Uncut Gems is probably greed and selfishness. Howard is not a good guy. He values money and status over everything. And while we are rooting for him to succeed on the bets that might ruin his life and family, we know why he's really trying this hard.
So what sets this scene apart?
We all know the secret to a great scene is to make sure there are obstacles that help create drama and tension. Well, as we listed above, this scene in the movie shows us every obstacle thrown at Howard.
All. At. Once.
Because of this insanity, we get one of the best scenes of the past decade. So what can you learn?
It's not about throwing random obstacles, it's about building a story where things go wrong, make sense and happen at the worst possible times. It might seem like that scenes in Uncut Gems is overstuffed, but it's actually just a ton of plant and payoffs at once.
What can you add to the first act that comes back later to make things hard on your character? What things can happen at once to make things more interesting?
Now get back to writing.
What's next? Learn writing lessons from the Safdie brothers...
If you're like me, it took approximately 24 hours for your heart to stop beating out of your chest after you saw Uncut Gems. There were times I thought I was in danger of cardiac arrest. Now that I've calmed down, it's time to learn some writing lessons.