Andrea Arnold, maker of gritty dramas about the British working class, such as Red Road and Fish Tank, turns her compassionate eye to America’s underclass with American Honey, a sprawling road movie that follows a rowdy, raggle-taggle band of teenage magazine sellers as they pinwheel across the Midwest, hawking subscriptions on doorsteps and truck stops.
A jostling hand-held camera sticks closely to the film’s heroine, 18-year-old Star (an impressive debut by non-professional actress Sasha Lane), as she learns the tricks of the trade from vulpine sales pro Jake (Shia LaBeouf, exuding scuzzy charisma) and the crew’s ruthless boss Krystal (Riley Keough, Elvis Presley’s granddaughter, memorably sporting a Confederate-flag bikini).
The film’s portrayal of her episodic adventures is meandering and overlong, but Robbie Ryan’s cinematography is dazzling and individual scenes make a powerful impact, offering revealing insights throughout into poverty and class in the US.
Certificate 15. Runtime 164 mins. Director Andrea Arnold
American Honey is available on Blu-ray, DD & Digital Download from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.