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American Honey


Stars: Sasha Lane, Riley Keough, Shia LaBeouf, Raymond Coalson, Chad McKenzie Cox, Verronikah Ezell, Arielle Holmes, Garry Howell, Crystal B Ice, McCaul Lombardi, Shawna Rae Moseley, Dakota Powers, Isaiah Stone, Kenneth Kory Tucker, Christopher David Wright

Director: Andrea Arnold

Fortunately for writer-director Andrea Arnold, her dramatically undernourished, largely pointless and, in the final analysis, seemingly endless “long hours journey into very little” has been greeted by many as an auteuristic masterpiece.

The storyline, such as it is, follows a teenage girl (first-timer Lane) who, with nothing to keep her, flees her troubled home and joins a bunch of adolescents with fake IDs who travel across the American Midwest selling (probably fake) magazines from door to door.

And it doesn’t take her long to fall in with the group's louche ways, with drinking, partying, law-breaking and casual sex…

If I have made the emaciated plot (do I flatter Arnold by using the word ‘plot’?) seem even vaguely enticing, I apologise. Tedium sets in rapidly and permanently thanks in major measure to Arnold’s apparent inability (or refusal?) to write/shoot a short scene when an overlong and dramatically undernourished one will do.

On the credit side, the well-chosen small-town locations add a measure of truth to the poor storytelling. And Robbie Ryan’s magnificent cinematography belongs to a better picture.

Alan Frank

USA 2016. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour.
155 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 3, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 23 Feb 2017

DVD review