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American Honey

Director:  Andrea Arnold
Year Released:  2016
Rating:  2.5

Headstrong teenager Star (Sasha Lane), who is trapped in terrible domestic situation (she has to take care of her younger siblings), makes a run for it when she meets charismatic Jake (Shia LaBeouf) and his gang of misfits who "sell magazines" (read: scam mostly rich people), with the whole operation basically run by twitchy, no-nonsense Krystal (Riley Keough). Arnold's 'natural' style is a major blessing - she has a knack for working with non-actors and young people (it has a Larry Clark/Nan Goldin vibe) - but she also overdoes things just a bit: there's a streamlined movie in there, somewhere, but at close to three hours it becomes redundant, as Star (annoyingly) makes terrible decision after terrible decision, running off with random men and actively welcoming danger (Shia has to save her from the Cowboys), with the camera fixated on her stoic face (in profile). The Lane-LaBeouf romantic storyline - with all its trashy dysfunction - is the core of the picture ... in the end, the two of them just continue to be led around by Krystal with no immediate possibility for escape: that's more like American Hell.

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