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American Honey

(Image credit: © Universal Pictures)

Shia LaBeouf and unknown Sasha Lane star in a gritty road-movie drama about teenage magazine-subscription sellers

Andrea Arnold, maker of gritty dramas about the British working class, such as Red Road and Fish Tank, turns her compassionate eye to America's underclass with this sprawling road movie, which follows a rowdy, raggle-taggle band of teenage magazine-subscription sellers  as they pinwheel across the Midwest, hawking subscriptions on doorsteps and truck stops.

A jostling hand-held camera sticks closely to the film's heroine, 18-year-old Star (an impressive debut by non-professional actress Sasha Lane), as she learns the tricks  of the trade from vulpine sales pro Jake (Shia LaBeouf, exuding scuzzy charisma) and the crew's ruthless boss Krystal (Riley Keough, Elvis Presley's granddaughter, memorably sporting a Confederate-flag bikini).

The film's portrayal of Star's episodic adventures is meandering and overlong, but individual scenes make a powerful impact and there are revealing insights into poverty and class in the US.