Darren Aronofsky's Meth Ads Showcase His Twisted Genius

Darren Aronofsky is best known these days for directing Black Swan, but even that film's darkest, most twisted moments can't really compare to the nerve-flaying despair that unravels in his 2000 masterpiece, Requiem for a Dream. I'm just saying, there are scary movies and there are sad movies and there are movies that mess with your head in a variety of unpleasant ways ... and then there's Requiem. It is an amazing piece of art that will leave you shattered, hopeless, and profoundly disturbed.

Still, I would recommend Requiem to anyone who hasn't had the upsetting experience of watching it, because it's surely the most powerful movie about addiction that's ever been made.

Given Aronofsky's skillful ability to make drug-related nightmares come to life on screen, he's the perfect choice for the Meth Project's latest video campaign. In four 30-second clips, Aronofsky has created some of the most disturbing PSAs of all time.


The awareness campaign from the Meth Project aims to educate (or scare the crap out of) would-be first-time drug users, and Aronofsky contributed by directing four TV spots that show the consequences of meth use. Remember those old "This is your brain on drugs" ads? Yeah, these are a little more hard-hitting.

Each ads starts with a slow-mo closeup shot of a teenager. The voiceover depicts the subjects talking about questions they might have asked before ever trying meth, as the camera pulls back to reveal the full horror of the scene that's happening around them. Skin lesions, violence from loved ones, prostitution, suicide—Aronofsky pulls no punches in these clips, and the results are devastating.

This clip actually made me tear up (um, in case it's not obvious yet: content may be disturbing for some viewers):

If you're wondering whether ads that are this graphic really have any effect, it seems the answer is yes: since the Meth Project launched in 2006, meth use has declined 65 percent in Arizona, 63 percent in Montana, and 52 percent in Idaho -- all largely credited to the Project's TV and radio ads.

Personally, I think it's fantastic that Aronofsky created these clips, and infused them so brilliantly with his signature dark style. His videos have a far greater impact than anything an ad agency would have come up with, and lending his name to the campaign helps increase their publicity.

This is actually the second time Aronofsky has contributed to the Meth Project, and he's not the only Hollywood filmmaker teaming up with the campaign. The Dark Knight and Inception director of photography Wally Pfister, Babel director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, and American History X director Tony Kaye have all worked with the organization. What an ingenious use of their talents, and a phenomenal way for these visual artists to make a difference.

What do you think of Aronofsky's meth ads?

Image via YouTube

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