Heaven Knows What

The uncompromising Ronald Bronstein (Frownland) scripted this New York City scuzzfest about junkie teens scoring, shooting up, nodding off, and coming back for more. The movie doesn’t so much avoid the old drug-movie cliches—the main character (Arielle Holmes) is redeemed by her perfect romantic devotion to a pimply Adonis and fellow addict (Caleb Landry Jones)—as amp them up with so much screaming unpleasantness that you might be intimidated into accepting them. The movie is a series of cruel rip-offs, circular arguments, and pitiless proclamations, ending with a cross-country bus trip so depressing it can’t help but conjure up Midnight Cowboy. Fans of the cinematic street poet Larry Clark (Kids, Bully) might go for this, though the unexpected moments of dignity and compassion that deepen his characters are in short supply here. Ben and Joshua Safdie (Daddy Longlegs, aka Go Get Some Rosemary) directed.