Pi director Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of Hubert Selby’s 1978 novel is one of the most visually experimental and thematically uncompromising American films of the 21st century. Its relentless sensory assault threatens to overwhelm the viewer, but the visceral images and frantic editing capture the euphoric ‘highs’ and repetitive rituals of drug-blighted lives as no other film has managed. Aronofsky achieves this by interweaving the tales of four Coney Island residents, each desperate to escape their dull existence. Ellen Burstyn gives a fearless, heart-breaking performance as Sara Goldfarb, a Jewish widow who shrugs off her lethargy when promised an appearance on her favourite TV game show, but an amphetamine-based crash-diet slowly disconnects her from reality. Her junky son Harry (Jared Leto) dreams of becoming a big-time dealer, planning to use the profits to open a clothes shop with his girlfriend Marion (Jennifer Connelly). Aronofsky’s searing film is a savage indictment of a ‘quick fix’ consumerist society in which TV shows, junk food, drugs and dreams of easy money distract people from true happiness and self-fulfilment.