The Safdie brothers make great exploitation cinema. We've seen this kind of movie before, as far back as Christiane F & as recent as Catch Me Daddy. The over stylistic approach (be it shallow focus camera work, 90s typeface or trance music that no one ever listened to sincerely) just panders to ID magazine & post capitalist NYC. This film is ugly, it glorifies addiction yet looks down it's nose at the downtrodden. D-
Would've been five stars if the guy who worshiped the darkness didn't accidentally burn to death. First of all it looked very unrealistic. Secondly it is very unrealistic. Thirdly it ruined the slice of life verisimilitude. Could've knocked it out of the park without that. It would have been as mature as any Haneke, Cassavetes, Dardenne's, et al.
Realistic portrayal of a group of junkies and some of their daily experiences from an extremely detached and voyeuristic perspective. Great performances all around and one of the trippiest soundtracks I have heard in a long time. The fact that the script is based off the main actress's unpublished memoir makes the whole thing even more intriguing.
From stumbling across the trailer i thought it had potential and looked interesting,after watching it i was wrong for the most part.It does have its moments but those moments are few and fleeting.It just doesn't holdup cohesively and overall my viewing experience with it just felt so shallow that it left me cold.See it strives to be a certain type of film but it just can't achieve it in any meaningful/memorable way.
I actually didn't expect that much from this movie. I was really taking we'll see approach here, so I was pleasantly surprised. It's pretty much "Faces" meets "Panic in the Needle Park", but it's coherent, vivid and is carried by the right rhythm. I loved the writing, the cast, and the soundtrack.
It makes me sad that ANIMALS came out in the same year and repped the Chicago film scene with a poignant tale of junkie-ism – and then this pops up, so unsentimental & non-didactic, making ANIMALS look like a TV movie. The actress, whose life this is based on, is extraordinary, and the ending is understated. Of course, this movie was only made because the director found a beautiful white junkie. But oh well.
Several scenes in "Heaven Knows What" achieve a kind of street level poetry, as when a young drug dealer on the sidewalk spins a tall tale to pioneering electronic musician Isao Tomita's synthesizer cover of "Clair de Lune." Admittedly, there are moments when it feels like the bubbling electronic score was only included so this resolutely bleak film would have at least one commercial element.
No amount of formal inventiveness can save this film from its characters and the plot. Follows most of the same plot points of every other junkie movie you've ever seen. Here the characters are even less likable than could be imagined. Dialogue consists almost entirely of characters arguing with each other at the top of their lungs. It makes it impossible to find any empathy for any of the characters.
While in many ways just another hopeless tale of addiction, the Safdie brothers' voyeuristic camerawork, cold colors, and lush electronic score create something a little more special. The slow and brutal portrayal of cyclical codependency and self-destruction is sickeningly real.
The first 20 minutes are the best of the film. Beautiful score and sound design. The film is shot on a telescopic lens from across the street, zoomed in as much as possible to achieve a voyeuristic feel. As the film progresses, the story is less compelling but the visuals become more effective. This will leave you emotionally wrecked. Nice ending as well, shows a cycle without trying too hard. Excellent casting.
Los Safdie parecen ser una especie de Larry Clark o Harmoni Korine pero sin testosterona. Lo atractivo de la película no deja de ser ese cuadro decadente de personajes enredados en una rutina que no tiene freno. Es como en "On the bowery" o la misma "Kids". "Heaven knows..." tranquilamente pudo haber sido un documental y para bien. La trama de no rutina, es decir sobre el amor, es marchita y sometida bajo sedantes.