Darren Aronofsky, the director of Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan, and The Wrestler, recently hit the small screen, releasing four commercials as part of the nationwide Meth Project. The Project’s goal is to curb use of methamphetamines throughout the country—as proof of its success, the project cites ABC’s study showing that “meth use has declined by 65% in Arizona, 63% in Montana, and 52% in Idaho since the 2006 commencement of its campaign.”
Aronofsky departs from the “this is your brain on drugs” movement of the 1990’s and the “just say no” crusade of the 1980’s. He instead stays true to his directorial style, depicting intensely graphic, seemingly exaggerated realities.
Watching the commercials left me with the same feeling as Black Swan, a queasy stomach, like I had just watched a video that I had no right to see. I was a fly on the wall, viewing the precise moments that mother, daughter, son, and brother would never want exposed.
A hospitalized teenager in the throes of a meth-induced psychosis. A mother hysterically clutching her daughter over a blood-red sink. A young boy cowering in the corner of his bedroom while his older brother tears through the room looking for money. A teenager in a dark motel room, selling his body for meth.
Aronofsky’s commercials all answer one question: What can methamphetamine do?
Meth can bring you to a place where you steal from your family, sell your body, attempt suicide, and/or end up in a mental hospital. These scenes are real. They happen. I just don’t know if his scare tactics will work—they wouldn’t have worked for me. Will they work for you?