American Honey Review
Director: Andrea Arnold.
Brit Writer/director, Andrea Arnold gives us a vivid American tale of a struggling, desperate teenager trying to shape something for herself who takes advantage of joining a juvenile travelling magazine selling bus gang. Somewhat seduced by the carefree lifestyle and being attracted to power-agent Jake, played meticulously by Shia LaBeouf.
The gang travel from city to city, door to door, across the states selling magazines by convincing rich folk to part with their money. They lie, cheat and scam their way to get the sales they need to make ends meat and keep their boss, Krystal, happy.
Arnold rightly decides to bravely use an assortment of unknowns for the majority of the cast, with some being impromptu auditions straight off from the street. Introducing Sasha Lane as the central character, Star. The only other recognisable faces/names you might know are Will Patton and Riley Keough.
It's oddly filmed and viewed with a square screen which becomes unnoticeable fairly quickly and a large majority of the film is shot beautifully with stunning perspectives using only natural light which still manages to look like it's filmed using Instagram filters.
As with much of Arnold's work, it dares to be explicit, the content is quite graphic but without being unnecessarily crude while it explores desires and sexual exploitation The style reminded me very much of Larry Clark's controversial Kids giving the film a strong sense of believability.
There's powerful performances with mood swings, strong impulses and emotional struggles, especially between LaBeouf and Lane who share a volatile relationship and seems pivotal to the storyline.
There's no score which is a brilliant choice, adding realism to the fly-on-the-wall style but there's a loaded soundtrack played via car stereos with accompanying gang sing-a-longs. It's a broad mix displaying the sub cultures of American society with tracks from Bruce Springsteen, Rihanna, Trey Songz and Lady Antebellum plus many, many more.
There's not really a conclusion, but is a great observation of American teenage society, bringing the audience along for the road trip. Its quite lengthy at 163mins yet it's surprising how much of it filled with the story. It's visually brilliant, a no frills dramatic road trip.
Running Time: 7
The Cast: 8
Job Description: 7
The Extra Bonus Point: 0
Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Probably not, having seen it the once, it's probably enough for me.