Friday, 30 September 2016 00:00

American Honey Featured

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Review written by Jon Patch with 1.5 paws out of 4

American Honey

A24, Parts and Labor, British Film Institute, Film4, Maven Pictures, Pulse Films and Protagonist Pictures presents an R rated, 163 minute, Drama, directed and written by Andrea Arnold with a theater release date of September 30, 2016.


When Star (Sasha Lane) gets tired of the life she’s currently living which consists of a horrible boyfriend, two kids which are not even hers, two dogs, bugs all over the house and dumpster food to live off up she decides to hit the road to Kansas City with a guy named Jake (Shia LaBeouf) that she meet in a white van. Star is 18 years old with no money, no life and not much ambition but in search of something better. Jake decides to hire her as sort of a traveling sales girl. Along with a group of other misfits from all over the country Star rides in the van while Jake who she likes rides in a nice convertible with the boss lady Krystal (Riley Keough). Young and full of fun, drugs, sex and alcohol these kids travel city to city selling magazines door to door to the rich, middle class and poor all for a small piece of the pie in the end. But hey they’re having fun along the way right? A sad depiction of American youth! I don’t think I can look at these kids in the face when they show up at my door and take them serious now after watching this film and they do show up with several sales pitches.

They all seem to get along well and travel the roads with a few mascots, a dog and a sugar glider but when it comes to Jake and Star sexual tension starts to get in the way. Each of the kids have their own separate quirks but one of the most obvious is Corey’s (McCaul Lombardi) who for some reason enjoys showing off his penis to everyone. In the beginning Jake was Star’s trainer but after she did not like to participate in his lies she eventually sprouted off on her own while still holding on to the attraction especially after their first actual sexual encounter. Star later has a number of encounters ones that you would think would end badly but for some reason they never did sometimes due to the watchful eye of Jake but either way Star started making money and it wasn’t always for the magazines in the end. These kids have dreams but they all seem to be locked into this lifestyle and even though some have aspirations of getting out we are never really sure if they do. Although it is quite obvious that not only does Star have a big heart for animals of all species, the bear scene was awesome, but she also has a heart for people down on their luck. Overall in the end some things don’t always work out as one plans yet for some they do. I guess it’s just the luck of the draw some may say.

I really felt at times I was stuck in the film “Groundhog Day” since the days seemed so long and always tend to repeat themselves for the most part. The direction and writing in the film truly had the opportunity to make it more than it was but it never went there. There are many scenes where you get built up but then it fades without even a climax. Unlike several moments in the film when the two leads are having sex there is a climax and at times I felt a bit like a voyeur watching a naked Lane and LaBeouf. Some of the other moments in the story are so lagging I found myself uninterested which at these times they could have shaved off some time in the editing room but they did not. It really would have helped the length of the story if they did though. Albeit as for the editing they did have their issues sometimes with focus or just bad editing from one scene to another.

You do get invested in the two lead characters but as for the rest of the group they are like flies that swarm the honey. The film does have some great cinematography and a great soundtrack but for the older audience more so than the young I’m not sure this film will survive long in the theater even with the sex, drugs, nudity, language, animals and music. I will say this though it has its moments for sure but more far and in between than throughout the story yet for a cast of mostly unknowns to me anyway they do well even during what appears to be ad-lib moments in the story. Lane is quite exceptional and it’s good to see LaBeouf back even though he is a bit odd in this film which suits him other than that Keough brings her bad self to the story line but at times seems one dimensional. Not the worst film I’ve ever sat though for almost three hours because it has its moments but I know I could not sit through it again.

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