Saturday, June 17, 2017

American Honey (2016)

Director: Andrea Arnold
Writer: Andrea Arnold
DOP: Robbie Ryan
Cast: Sasha Lane, Shia LaBeouf, Riley Keough

A teenage girl (Sasha Lane) with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and and young love as she crisscrosses the Midwest with a band of misfits.

It is one of those rare Hollywood/Indie films from which focuses on the poorer section of people from these developed countries. The characters that the protagonist/we meet in the film are the so-called white trash (Chavs in England) and since they are not really a bunch we could easily warm up to (casting Shia LaBeouf doesn't really help even though it is effective), it took a while for me to get into the film. It is almost three hours long and I finished it in three sittings. You do get interested in the film after the initial jitters but by the end it is a bit underwhelming. I don't know whether it is because of us Indians beings so used to seeing much poverty in and around us as well as in films from our part of the World, the ones from the West doesn't have the same effect unless done really well like 'The Wire' or 'I, Daniel Blake', for example. The characters in it are into selling magazines in the guise of charity and other cooked up stories and follow a very capitalistic model os rewards and punishments. When the girl is teamed up with Shia's character, who is like a trainer, she starts objecting to his methods of selling as she prefers honesty. I didn't really buy it and one of the main reason is that she doesn't look like a teenager, at the risk of coming off as a racist. The reason that she joined the crew was her attraction towards the trainer and there is considerable sexual tension involved between the two and the boss lady played very well by Riley Keough.

Overall it is a decent enough watch without being all that good for me. I enjoyed Andrea Arnold's only other film that I have watched, Fish Tank, much more. It is a film that ends up with a Lolita like situation with excellent central performances from Katie Jarvis and Michael Fassbender. It was a film that had a very cool blue tint while in American Honey it is warm reddish.

Rating: 2.5/5