For Reel

Heaven Knows What (2014)
November 17, 2015, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , , ,

Director(s): Benny & Josh Safdie
4 Stars
Heaven Knows WhatWhereas the Safdie brothers’ Daddy Longlegs was a brilliant piece of minimalism that came as close as any modern indie at capturing John Cassavetes’ sense of immediacy and realism, their latest film is after something a little more obscure. The opening moments find a pair of junkies writhing in coitus, their identities partially hidden by the closeness of the camera–his face is barely seen, but the grime and dirt on his hands is observed with careful detail. Accompanying the images in a deafening electronic score, suggesting a sort of science fiction thriller in its assaultive repetitiveness. Heaven Knows What, however, isn’t so much interested in capturing a specific point-of-view subjectivity through these techniques–drug use is not rendered for the audience in hallucinatory bits of aesthetic recreation–but in order to suggest a certain relationship with the world, a sense of being utterly absorbed by the present. The film is brutal in the way that it portrays these relationships–after all, it is before the opening credits even roll that an abusive boyfriend (Caleb Landry Jones) goads his girlfriend (Arielle Holmes) into slitting her wrists–but the commitment to authenticity outweighs one’s feeling that it revels in developing a single-minded cynical worldview. The way that one drug dealer (Buddy Duress) engages in circular arguments and spends the duration of the picture in a sort of irritable, confused daze is very specific to a certain type of living. The Safdie brothers don’t treat this material as a cautionary tale, but as it simply is.

Leave a Comment so far
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: