Uncut Gems *finally* started streaming on Netflix a couple days ago, giving us more quarantine content to devour. Uncut Gems, which follows gambling jeweler Howard Ratner (played by Adam Sandler) who risks everything he has on a super rare stone, Kevin Garnett, and a Celtics game. In order to pay off his debts, Howard makes a series of very, very risky bets that might give you heart palpitations.
If you have watched it (and we'll assume you have, since you are here after all), you might be wondering about the shocking ending. Spoiler alert to anyone who hasn't seen or finished Uncut Gems!
So, why did Phil shoot Howard?
Phil shot Howard because he seemingly knew he had a chance of stealing everything from him for himself. What did we really think would happen to Howard, anyhow? He bet everything on a high-stakes outcome and got involved in some really shady stuff. As we barrel toward the end of the movie, we find, to our relief, that everything works out for Howard.
Until it doesn't, of course, which makes the ending that much more gut-punching. After everything Howard did, he winds up dead, anyway. After Howard wins the bet (after making bet after bet after bet, giving us an insane amount of movie anxiety), Arno's (Howard's brother-in-law/loan officer) henchman Phil shoots Howard in the head.
Phil THEN kills Arno, after Arno is like "why the heck did you kill my brother-in-law?" Phil and Nico steal everything they're able to from the jewelry shop as quickly as possible, since the cops have been called, thanks to Dinah, Howard's wife. The last we know as viewers is that Phil and Nico make a run for it. Do they get caught? We're not sure — and many are frustrated with this ambiguous ending.
What was the meaning behind the Uncut Gems ending?
While it's up for interpretation, the possible meaning behind Uncut Gems ending is that greed is never-ending. Howard keeps making stressful bets even when he's in the clear (just so that he can potentially make even more money — or lose it all), and the film shows that his obsession wasn't about to stop there. He would keep going until he self-destructed. Phil killing him was a price Howard paid, but it was also inevitable that Howard would face the same fate eventually. Maybe he wouldn't have been shot by Phil, but maybe by someone else.
Satisfied? Many aren't. But that doesn't mean Uncut Gems isn't worth the watch.