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Adam Sandler takes a dramatic turn in Safdie brothers’ ‘Uncut Gems’

Adam Sandler, pictured at the Los Angeles premiere of "Murder Mystery’’ in June, will take on a dramatic role in the Safdie brothers’ upcoming crime-thriller “Uncut Gems.”Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/Invision/AP

Is the Adam Sandler renaissance — the Sandlerssance, if you will — finally upon us?

“Uncut Gems,” the second feature from filmmakers and BU grads Benny and Josh Safdie, casts the prolific funnyman in a rare dramatic role.

In the crime-thriller, premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival this September, Sandler plays Howard Ratner, a New York City jeweler on the hunt for a major score. When he makes a series of high-stakes bets aimed at earning him a considerable windfall, Howard is faced with the difficult task of balancing family, business, and encircling enemies if he’s to make it out on top. Lakeith Stanfield, Idina Menzel, and Eric Bogosian costar.


““It’s exhilarating to watch,” TIFF artistic director Cameron Bailey told IndieWire in a recent interview, adding that “Sandler gives his very best performance since ‘Punch-Drunk Love,’ ” the 2002 Paul Thomas Anderson comedy-drama that earned him a Golden Globe nomination.

The brothers Safdie famously gave “Good Time” lead Robert Pattinson the dramatic momentum he needed to break away from his stifling heartthrob reputation. Once known for playing a brooding bloodsucker in “Twilight,” Pattinson’s become an in-demand talent on the indie circuit since playing a desperate criminal in the Safdies’ debut; he next stars in Robert Eggers’s black-and-white horror-fantasy “The Lighthouse,” also playing at TIFF.

If Sandler is indeed mounting a dramatic comeback, “Uncut Gems” may be just the ticket. Meanwhile, Sandler has another movie in the works: “Hubie Halloween,” a Netflix comedy he’s been filming on the North Shore.

Isaac Feldberg can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @isaacfeldberg.