Sunday, 30 October 2016

Film No. 65 (2016) American Honey October 24th.

Film No. 65 (2016) October 24th.  7.30 PM LUNA Leederville.

"I've been trying to be christian, but I can see the devil has a hold of the two of you" (the words of a potential customer after letting Star (Sasha Lane) and Jake (Shia LaBeouf) into her house).

Andrea Arnold has made one of the most original American road movies of contemporary times in American Honey and surprisingly she's a product of the U.K. It is a film she's had on her mind for a few years as she travelled the states meeting with young people who were cold calling, door to door, in the hope of selling magazine subscriptions. 

Arnold's storytelling has a lot of Ken Loach about it. That she found her lead, Sasha Lane, on a beach in Panama, Miami two weeks before filming began rings true of her cinema hero. What a find she made in Lane who plays Star, a teenage girl with little to no prospects but a big heart and a mind of her own. Star believes a better life, full of riches lies ahead if she joins Jake (Shia LaBeouf) and a team of vagabond sales kids on the road.

It's here the film questions the American idea that materialism will make for a better life. The simple catch cry for Star and her off-siders, egged on by team leader Krystal is to "make money". When the vehicle for that purpose is selling subscriptions to magazines, we know that their cause is hopeless. But it's through Star we see glimmers of hope. She begins to make money by being honest and above all, a good person. She becomes a lightning rod for the very vulnerable Jake.

Arnold has already claimed a jury prize and a major nomination at Cannes 2016 for American Honey. No mean accolade for a non-American making arts outside her own territory. 165 minutes may seem lengthy on the face of things but when one becomes totally invested in a character to the point we'd be more than willing to buy her subscriptions, the time flies. Films baring their all through raw naturalism aren't for everybody but this one will gradually charm most.  10GUMS.


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