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“Spring Breakers” – Review (POSITIVE) [feat. SPOILER]

March 23, 2013

Screen shot 2013-03-23 at 12.05.46 PMHarmony Korine has a very interesting career as a filmmaker. His movies are certainly not for everyone, in fact one could agree that you have to be a certain kind of person to appreciate his work, especially what he’s getting across in those films.

For me his most notable works are “Kids” (screenwriter) & “Gummo” (writer/director), which some may find harsh, disturbing, weird, and unnerving. For me, I like the fact that Korine takes the risk of exploiting youthful adolescents. Also, he manages to reveal the beauty in such ugly scenarios, again, you’ve got to be a certain person to appreciate his work.

So, when I learned last year, during Cannes, that Korine was in the middle post-production of what would be his first real major ‘studio’ picture, my excitement was at an all time high. What also boggles my mind is how he kept this production somewhat secretive, sure, pics surfaced of Selena Gomez and the rest of the gals in bikinis on set, but no one really thought of it as a Harmony Korine production (as far as I know). When I learned what the film entailed, a ‘Girls Gone Wild’ style of storytelling, starring two ex-Disney Channel famed actress’ Selena Gomez & Vanessa Hudgens, with James Franco as bat-shit crazed white gangsta rapper. Curiouser and curiouser.

Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Hudgens), Cotty (wife of director, Rachel Korine), and Faith (Gomez) have been best friends since grade school. They live together in a boring college dorm and are hungry for adventure. All they have to do is save enough money for spring break to get their shot at having some real fun. After committing their first crime, robbing a po-dunk diner, the girls take their illegal winnings and make their way down to Florida for spring break fun! A serendipitous encounter with a white-rapper “Alien” (Franco) promises to provide the girls with all the thrill and excitement they could hope for, after bailing them out of jail. With the encouragement of their new friend, it soon becomes unclear how far the girls are willing to go to experience a spring break they will never forget.

The movie does the job at showing us where the line can be crossed for certain youths, although, in real-life it should be an automatic red flag to leave when a stranger bails you out of jail, especially when they look like that (see pic below). But, these girls aren’t thinking clearly, they’ve been corrupted by the ideology of spring break. Youthful adolescents is not the only thing exploited in this film the very idea of the concept of spring break is more so. Spring break has been transformed into a modern Sodom & Gomorrah, just about every depraved, unnatural, weird, disturbing act is committed. Once they cross the line of mellow southern college lifestyle to the land of Spring Break, all bets are off.

Screen shot 2013-03-23 at 12.05.12 PMPerformance wise, the white elephant in the room goes to Franco, during the production of this movie he became extremely committed to this role, that some might have thought he lost touch with everyone around him for that brief moment of insanity. And it shows, many will argue who’s movie this really is, I’d like to say it’s Franco’s. His hypnotic and devilish influence on the girls is the driving force for the rest of Act’s 2 & 3. The part where he seduces Gomez’s faith, I can over hear an audience member plea, “Don’t listen to him, he’s bad, don’t listen to him”. It’s amusing to see people get so invested into a character, especially one like Alien.

The only major downside about this film is the ending. Yes, the movie does take a lot of ridiculous twists and turns throughout, all to a point where it’s unbelievable, but in a way where you find yourself accepting it for what it is. However, the ending, the last scene is just too ludicrous to accept as real-life. Imagine this…[SPOILERS]… you have an army of gangsters/thugs, with guns, who’ve handled these weapons a large portion of their lives, are suddenly outgunned & beaten by college girls with uzi’s??? I’m sorry, but I just cannot buy into that, if that scenario was constructed differently, and the girls succeeded in the same fashion, then maybe I’d buy into it, but what the final product represents, it’s a big eye roll.

I cannot forget to mention the cinematography and editing style of this film. Oh. My. Fucking. GAWD! This is the prettiest, ugliest, enchanting, hypnotic, and unnerving movie to look at all at once. Korine’s embracement of the neon colors throughout the film are the right amount of wonderment and corrupted innocents. It’s perfect, the look of this movie is perfect! As of right now, I can forgive the ending, because this is one of my favorite movies of the year, so far. It’s the right kind of bizarre gonzo style filmmaking we deserve more and more these days.

GRADE: B+

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