The setting of this scene from “Uncut Gems” is a school production, but the real drama is in the audience. The lead character, Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler), a jewelry store owner, has recently acquired a rare gem, but he’s also accumulated some debt along the way. In this scene, during a school play he’s attending with his family to watch his daughter perform, some not-so-nice men have come to collect on that debt.
In their narration, the directors Josh and Benny Safdie discuss how they use a shoulder-tap gag to create a fearful moment, shifting the tone of the sequence and heightening the stakes exponentially in a matter of seconds.
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