God’s a c***
As mentioned in my last review, I have started working in a new cinema and this one is more prone to getting in smaller, independent films, and when I started there last week I was filled with delight when I saw the names of films that I had never heard of, one of which was “American Honey”.
Now, I like to think I keep up to date with all upcoming releases, so I automatically become intrigued when I see a movie on the film list that I don’t recognise, so when I saw the words “American Honey” I got excited, but I didn’t watch a trailer going into it and therefore I had very little knowledge about what the film was about, other than it is a road trip movie.
Yeah, that was a mistake…..
Star (Lane) is seemingly stuck in a dead end life, jobless and looking after her two younger siblings whilst her dad drinks himself to death, and the mother does everything she can to disassociate herself with them. One day, whilst hunting for food in a dump truck, Star catches the eye of Jake (Labeouf) and after a brief conversation, he offers her a job selling magazines. She accepts and soon heads off on a road trip with people from all corners of the United States.
Upon meeting the owner of the sales team, Krystal (Keough), Star is left in no uncertain terms that she can be abandoned in the middle of nowhere of at any time if she doesn’t sell, and/or prove her worth, but she is paired with Jake during training, the leading sales person. Things don’t go according to plan when Star purposefully sabotages a sale that Jake is on the verge of securing, and the pair come to blows on a regular basis, but then soon start a relationship.
The only issue with that is that Jake is in a weird relationship with Krystal, and the latter doesn’t take too kindly to Star impacting Jake’s sales, as well as making it perfectly clear that she is the only woman that he is interested in. How long can this go on, especially when Jake realises that Star is using her body to get sales.
Worth the watch?
I don’t think I’ve ever watched a film that is nearly three hours long and yet have so little happen during it. I have no issues watching long films at all, but to sum it up I have a friend that reviews films as well and he summarised it perfectly when he described it as a “road trip that goes nowhere”, and even as early as 40 minutes in I was bored out of my mind and was incredibly tempted to walk out. I wouldn’t have missed anything worth watching. To put that in some sort of context, I have seen some horrible movies down the years, something that are ultimately far worse than this, and yet I’ve stayed.
The film is a big waste of nearly three hours of your life and it tries to use the psychology of having regular introductions of loud music to keep you interested, but it really doesn’t. Whilst the odd song here and there adds to the story, such as when Star’s father forces her to dance with him, but then there are those scenes in which they’re travelling on the bus and rap music is blaring out and you’re subjected to a full four minute rendition from people who can’t sing, and it has no relevance whatsoever, although I do suppose that fits in with a lot of the characters. To put that in more context, I don’t like rap music.
So many of the characters are inconsequential and irrelevant that it makes you really wonder why you should care about any of them, even the main characters. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the acting is bad by any stretch. Everyone does a decent job, especially Labeouf, but the very fact that they share the bus with roughly fifteen other people and yet I couldn’t tell you a single thing about any of the other characters, other than their names (most of which you’ll forget by the end of the film), and that isn’t a good thing.
I think one of the problems that causes it to feel much longer than nearly three hours long is that there are just so many scenes that are completely uninteresting, or off-the-wall random, that you find yourself having your mind wander. I found myself having a conversation over Facebook with the aforementioned friend and that’s how unengaging the story is. A film that lasts nearly three hours isn’t a bad thing, but a film that has that length needs to be interesting on at least some level.
The only aspect that I do like is that you get to see a good picture of what America is like in areas that you don’t often see, such as the city of Kansas, which rarely features in films that don’t involve the land of “Oz”. Let’s face it, the vast, vast majority of films set in America are set in the three main cities, New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles, so it was nice to see somewhere that you don’t often see. If you’re after a movie that shows you different areas of a part of the world that is regularly in film, then this is the one for you, but that is ultimately the only positive thing that I can say about a film that takes up nearly 1/8 of your day.
Visually it’s decent enough, as are most films that rely on natural light, but ultimately this is a film that when I do eventually get around to ranking all of the films that I have seen this year, this will be low in the list, and if I’m being honest, in any other year this could have easily featured in my Bottom 10.
A completely forgettable film that offers nothing and I think a quote from “American Psycho” sums this movie up perfectly, “I gain no deeper knowledge of myself. No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling.” I like to think that I can take something positive from most films and can use it at some point during my life, but this is not one of those.
“American Honey” is a completely unremarkable movie that I was already starting to forget within fifteen minutes of finishing it, and I have been waiting patiently for the cinema that I work at to stop showing it so that I can review it. Infact, I think at the time I described it as a film that has a beginning, but no middle or end.
You only have a short life in the grand scheme of things, don’t waste some of it watching this.