Heaven Knows What

Well-made, daring, and without a false moment

This hour and a half with New York’s marginalized young street junkies is not an easy sit. It’s unrelentingly gritty and depressing. But it’s also transfixing, with jarring moments of humanity. There’s no narrative; it’s just scoring heroin, stealing to pay for it, and repeat.

What drives this brutal yet lyrical film by Josh and Benny Safdie is the performance of Arielle Holmes, a recovering street junkie herself, on whose memoir this is based. All the supporting roles save one are played by non-actor street people. Not for everyone, but well-made, daring, and without a false moment or a gimmick. Japanese title: Kamisama Nanka Kuso Kurae. (94 min)