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American Honey

Directed by Andrea Arnold

USA, 2016

HOME, 26 October 2016

American Honey

Tales of American millenials, golden youth, struggling to survive in the gig economy.

That’s what the film shows you and it feels new, while harking back – something about the harsh brightness, the contemporary sheen of it all – to an old forgotten noir, Nightmare Alley.

There is this Texan girl by name of Star who takes a shine to Jake, a fatal male who offers her a job selling magazines door-to-door across America. The crew she joins are friendly and freakish, misfits and runaways, or simply individuals (how is that?) and they are kind of like a carney (hence in part I suppose the allusion to Nightmare Alley), a travelling tribe. Their mission is to see America: it is an epic film, or at least there are pretensions in that direction.

Anyway, Star (or Sasha Lane, the actress who plays her) is beautiful and photogenic, what with a rose tattoo on her thigh and all. Men respond to her beauty but it is her courage and candour –  the girl has a forthright innocence all her own – that is the killer. They half want to protect her, half want to share her journey.

There is another intriguing female character in Crystal, a hard headed business woman and a downhome dominatrix. She is the chief of the tribe.

To be frank, the way in which certain scenes were structured around hip-hop /  pop songs began to grate somewhat by the end: this is apparently the new fashion. Also, it is way overlong. And Terence Malick’s influence is overmuch.  But all that was outweighed by the film’s fresh feel. These are people you have not really seen before.

A very decent film.