The antithesis of “American Honey,” an epic tinge poem about a childish rope of derelict hucksters, is that it somehow manages to be both rapturous and dispiriting.
Starring: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough.
Rating: R for striking nakedness and clever passionate material, counterfeit denunciation and drug and ethanol use, all involving teenagers.
Loosely desirous by a 2007 New York Times essay by Ian Urbina on a subculture of sailing “mag crews” — groups of teenagers and immature adults, many of them runaways and dropouts, who sell repository subscriptions door-to-door and in a streets — a scripted play by British writer-director Andrea Arnold (“Wuthering Heights”) isn’t utterly cinema vérité, nonetheless many of a immature expel is stoical of nonactors, and a character of filmmaking is positively fly-on-the-wall — with a vengeance.
Mr. Urbina’s essay chronicled psychological and earthy abuse among these crews, and Ms. Arnold’s film doesn’t sweeten that reality. As decorated in a film, infrequent sex and drug and ethanol use are common among a crew. Yet she also brings a overjoyed appreciation for a suggestion of leisure and a confidence — if not a ignorance — of her subjects, who can seem during once world-weary and hopelessly naive.
The eyes by that we are introduced to a universe of “American Honey” go to Star (mesmerizing visitor Sasha Lane), a rather mislaid and acid Midwesterner who takes adult with a mag organisation led by a charismatic Jake (Shia LaBeouf). Jake teaches Star a tricks of a sales trade, which, according to a movie, generally engage lying. The film’s mag organisation members contend they’re lifting income for education, or a ill family member — whatever works.
Star has a dignified compass that causes her to frustrate during these deceptions, though not during apropos romantically concerned with Jake, who is something like a sex worker for a crew’s queen-bee overseer, played with sleepy-eyed energy by Elvis Presley’s granddaughter, Riley Keough. Their triangle, that also involves energy struggles over business practices, informs most of a film’s action, such as it is. There’s isn’t much: “American Honey” is closer to a 2½-hour scrutiny of mood than melodrama.
Part of that mood feels generally bleak. As with a 1995 film “Kids,” there’s a nervous anarchy during a core of “American Honey” that fuels a film’s immature antiheroes in their peripatetic rush from one nowhere to another.
At a same time, Ms. Arnold finds room in this damaged prophesy of America not only to dream, though to hope. Like a impulse for a title, there’s a furious benevolence to a people decorated with such monumental probity and tender beauty in “American Honey.”
Opens currently during AMC-Loews during The Waterfront.
Michael O’Sullivan – Andrea Arnold – Will Patton – Shia LaBeouf – Elvis Presley – Riley Keough