This post was written for, and appears on, Bitch Flicks.
Andrea Arnold is a true auteur. With films as eclectic as Fish Tank and Wuthering Heights, her films are, whilst not necessarily linked in themed, entirely linked through style and aesthetic. American Honey, her first film shot outside of Britain, retains Arnold’s unique directorial style: a roving camera, naturalistic performances and an ability to completely highlight a character’s emotional state through visual choices.
Arnold has a history of selecting actors with very little, if any acting experience, casting Katie Jarvis in Fish Tank and James Howson in Wuthering Heights to clear success. She has taken a similar approach in casting Sasha Lane as Star in American Honey alongside Shia LaBeouf.
Lane plays Star, a young adult who has very little connection to her home. As a result, it is relatively easy for her to join Jake (LaBeouf) and his gaggle of teens who, under the strict command of Riley Keough’s Krystal, travel across America selling magazine subscriptions.
The trailer is wonderfully edited, featuring some gorgeous cinematography whilst always retaining Arnold’s naturalistic approach. Lane’s performance looks entirely engaging, and her acting style immediately creates both interest and empathy. LaBeouf too, looks like he has some real potential here. LaBeouf has, thanks to the tabloid press, found himself increasingly used for media fodder rather than any focus upon his acting career, yet, his film choices (Transformers aside) are increasingly interesting. Whilst initial reviews have only been moderately favourable I am hopeful that American Honey will be another fine addition to Arnold’s filmography.