It’s hardly a secret that the American military has no idea what to do with its veterans, often leaving the traumatized men to fall through the cracks due to a lack of support. As the newly released trailer for the upcoming action-drama Man Down amply shows, soldier Gabriel Drummer (Shia LaBeouf, mercifully free of his American Honey rat-tail) has more than his fair share of baggage when he returns home from an extended tour of duty in an unidentified conflict. But he’ll have to contend with more than poverty and the guilt over watching his brother-in-arms (Jai Courtney) die; turns out that while he was away fighting to protect it, America went right to hell anyway.
Imagine if Larry Clark was a woman, capable of depicting the inner lives of disenfranchised youth with all the psychic nuance and sensitivity estrogen could provide. Imagine a road trip through Middle America as presented by Claire Denis; now imagine that the brutal emotional intensity and distinct feeling of dread remain intact, while the threat of grotesque acts of violence lurk on the periphery, merely imagined and never realized. If you can imagine that, you might come close to approximating the experience of watching American Honey, the latest stumbling-of-age drama from Fish Tank director Andrea Arnold.