Uncut Gems 4K Blu-Ray - In Criterion We Trust
By Sal LoCicero | November 26, 2021
‘Uncut Gems’, the latest feature from Josh and Benny Safdie (Good Time), has officially arrived in the Criterion Collection. Adam Sandler stars as Howard Ratner, a New York City Jeweler with a toxic gambling addiction. When Howard gets his hands on a rare black opal, he must run against the clock to pay his debts before it’s too late.
For two years now, ‘Uncut Gems’ has earned nothing but praise from both critics and film lovers alike. Adam Sandler’s performance won him the Independent Film Spirit Award for Best Male Lead, and The Safdie Brothers received their award for Best Director(s).
The Criterion Collection is a highly prestigious company that distributes “important classic and contemporary films”. The company has gained its popularity with the many film and art lovers of the world. Criterion has restored, licensed and distributed so many films, such as ‘The Seventh Seal’, ‘House’, ‘Mulholland Drive’, ‘Seven Samurai’, ‘Dr. Strangelove’, and much more.
This is a big year for the Criterion Collection, not only have they added some great new movies this month, but are now adding 4K Ultra HD into the collection. This week they’ve added ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘Menace II Society’, ‘Mulholland Drive’, and ‘Uncut Gems’; all on 4K Blu-Ray.
‘Uncut Gems: The Criterion Collection’ has proved itself to be another worthy addition from this company. This set Includes two discs, 4K Ultra HD and Blu-Ray, and a mini booklet about the history behind the film. The booklet is a great accessory in this set, it provides a significant amount of information regarding the movie, the directors, the story, the characters and much, much more.
Both the 4K disc and the Blu-Ray disc differ from the 2020 Lionsgate release. Disc 1 - 4K is a very good transfer. The 4K resolution adds the film’s original 35mm negative scan, which is how it was filmed. When there are scenes that take place in a dark room, at night, or if a character is wearing black clothing, the picture gives you true black color instead of grey shadows that would interfere in those scenes. The lighter scenes are very good as well. They are able to stand out just as much as the scenes located in dark places. What adds to the true 4K picture is the help of Dolby Vision.
Dolby Vision serves a tremendous purpose here. It allows scenes to give off their true look. The movie is very grainy, since it was shot on 35mm film, and Dolby Vision definitely shows it. Another difference from the Lionsgate release and the new Criterion release, is the sound. Uncut Gems’ original blu-ray came with a 5.1 DTS-HD, while Criterion added Dolby Atmos sound. 5.1 DTS-HD was not that bad. For what the 2020 Blu-Ray came with, 5.1 DTS provided good audio. But Dolby Atmos is much better, with dialogue more clear, and the synth score by Daniel Lopatin blasting in such crystal clear sound makes it even more of a joy to listen to. The deep sound effects in some sequences add to the intensity, and it’s wildly immersive.
Disc 2 - Blu-Ray disc is another improvement. Criterion allows the Blu-Ray version to also come with Dolby Atmos sound. It is also mastered in 4K, which allows the picture to upscale its quality to 4K, it’s much more visible to see if you have a 4K upscaled Blu-Ray player. The disc comes with Supplements (Special Features) that give off a lot more behind the scenes content. There’s an interview with some of the crew and their experience working on the Safdie brothers long time project. There’s also history behind the story and the cultural representation that serves a tremendous purpose. Extended scenes are included as well as a performance by the Weeknd, and both the Theatrical trailer and Elara Trailer of the movie can be found here.
The extended scenes are a disappointment due to high expectations. It felt like there would be more unseen footage that was not included in the theatrical release. Before it's trailer debuted, there was a video published online that shows Howard Ratner chasing after a girl (Pom Klementieff) who stole something from him in which after he begins to curse her out. That is just one out of a few bts footage that were not present in the movie.
The main menu is terrific. It shows you exactly what you need to see in order to prepare for the more deeper and philosophical aspects, followed by the synthesized score, titled ‘Uncut Gems’ by Daniel Lopatin.
For those who enjoyed ‘Uncut Gems’, watched it more than once, and bought it on Blu-Ray and DVD a year ago, or if you are a collector who has followed the Criterion Collection for a few years then it is highly recommended that you purchase this release.