A raw, documentary-style account of junkies and hustlers on the streets of New York’s Upper West Side, Heaven Knows What is undeniably tough to watch. Yet if you feel up to the challenge then there is something horrifyingly mesmerising about this work from independent filmmakers Josh and Benny Safdie.
In large part, that’s because of the spellbinding performance in the lead of Arielle Holmes, the one-time homeless heroin addict on whose memoir, Mad Love in New York City, the film is based. The Safdie brothers capture her experiences with scuzzy immediacy, while Holmes’ co-star, Caleby Landry Jones, hits a new low in on-screen scumbaggery as her truly repellent boyfriend, Ilya.
Certificate 18. Runtime 95 mins. Directors Josh Safdie, Benny Safdie
Heaven Knows What debuts on Sky Cinema Premiere on Tuesday 19 September. Available on DVD & Digital from Axiom Films.