Andrea Arnold, USA2016) 163 mins
Rating: R16 sex scenes, violence, drug use, offensive language, nudity
American Honey follows the trail of Texas teenager Star (Sasha Lane), who leaves her thankless life caring for her younger half-siblings to join a magazine sales crew on the road. These self-styled ‘sales associates’ are led by a glassy-eyed boss called Krystal (Riley Keough) and her pet salesman Jake (Shia LaBeouf), who starts an affair with Star. Their sales techniques are ethically reprehensible and only sporadically effective – preying on customers’ weaknesses until they pay out of pity, lust or guilt.
In opposition to countercultural road movies such as Easy Rider (1969), Krystal’s team travel in pursuit of the American Dream, not to escape it. The US lays out its inequalities for the crew through the van window – the spreading lawns of well-heeled suburbia, the slipshod children playing in motel car parks – and Krystal schemes to exploit them.
– Pamela Hutchinson, Sight and Sound, November 2016.