Spring Breakers Reviews
Lacking almost all restraint, director Harmony Korine fashions a didactic drama about hedonism and materialism while including enough skin to make Hugh Hefner blush. Though the film is clearly "artistic" (as opposed to pornographic) with its slow motion shots, fractured narrative, and repeated "poetic" voice-overs, it can't escape the fact that it quickly becomes a parody of itself. Take for example a scene in which Alien shows off his "pad." He says, "Look at my shit" approximately twenty times, and I couldn't resist thinking, "Look at my props department. They found a lot of guns and an oddly shaped bed." A lack of subtlety isn't always necessary, but Spring Breakers goes so over the top that I couldn't stomach the predictable conclusion of its ham-handed plot.
Overall, Harmony Korine may be a fine writer, as evidenced by Kids, but as a director he has much to learn.
Sweethearts of PG-13 television Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens prove their bad-babe mettle as amoral provocateurs who sell every curse and finger-pistol. Corn-rowed gold-grilled James Franco is kerazy, as usual, and appallingly impressive when he submits to the girls' sexually deviant ploys. Disney Princess Selena Gomez, as the churchy good-girl, shows off her enviable Spring Break bod and ultimately reveals some decent dramatic chops in a silent, teary face-off with Alien.
I actually kind of like it. Yeah, it's a meandering, weird mess, but it's just done in such a WAY, that I can't help but give some respect/get some enjoyment out of it.
What little actual plot there is involves four lifelong friends who, bored at their college dorm, decide to go to Florida for spring break. Problem is, they're short on cash and a ride, so their trip is funded via robbery (and it's done in a really cool long take from a neat perspective). Once they get to Florida, their plans for having an amazing adventure really go off the rails after their thrown in jail, then bailed out by Alien- a cornrowed, mouth grilled, gangsta/drug/gun runner and rapper with a strong southern drawl.
And that's really all there is to it. Sure, once they meet Alien, a bit of a plot develops as the girls get involved in his world, but even that is pretty formless.
A lot of this is just a sequence of montages, with tons of repeated lines of dialogue that seem designed to function as meditative or trance inducing. And the film is shot with a ridiculous amount of bright, candy colored neon lights and garb, and is basically a mix between a bad trip and girls gone wild (to the extreme). I was mostly on board with this though. I really didn't know what to expect or anything, and came away mostly pleased.
The film does ramble, and doesn't really make a whole lot of sense, but, I do agree with those who think the film is a satire. Problem is: I think it straddles the line between satire and sincerity a little too well, and it's hard to tell when/if the audience is supposed to be taking it seriously.
The music and editing match the visual style quite nicely though, and serve as great ways of showcasing youthful debauchery, even though the shock value wears off earlier than it should have.
Probably the most striking thing here is not the attempt at some Disney princess to cut loose (although it is a noble, and mostly successful effort), but the stunning performance by James Franco as Alien. It's such a bizarre character, and a really out there performance. It's fascinating and engaging, though some might find it funny, and it kind of is, but they might find the humor in it for the wrong reasons. I personally think it's a bold move by Franco, and easily one of his most notable (and interesting) performances.
This is a love it or hate it movie, but I somehow ended up closer to the middle, though leaning towards the positive. As far as a grade goes, let's call it somewhere between C+ and B-.
Too much style, not enough content movie! Now, I wanted to like this movie. Honestly, I really did. But there were too many things I couldn't quite handle, like a strange musical moment where Franco serenades the girls with an oh too popular Britney Spears song. Yes, that did happen, and no I will not get back those 3 minutes of my life. I will give the film credit in a lot of areas. Personally, I found Director/Writer Harmony Korine unique and the film pushes most of the cast members out of their stereotypes, and in a strange way, that worked. The problem was I wasn't sold on the plot. As the girl's 'adventure' with Franco continues, I lost interest. Yeah, I could buy the coming of age bits, but the whole 'party girls turning into James Franco's hardcore gangsta b*****s' bit was too ridiculous for me. I understand that there are probably a lot of 'deep' factors in this film that a lot of critics are going to obsess over, but personally, I couldn't overlook the ridiculousness of some moments enough to appreciate that other side of the film. Basically, if you want my advice, this movie isn't for your average film goer.
Brit, Candy, Cotty, and Faith 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. A serendipitous encounter with rapper "Alien" promises to provide the girls with all the thrill and excitement they could hope for. 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 film works to undermine the conventionality of its premise right away. The four co-eds liberally indulge in all the weed, coke and booze they can handle(provocatively delivered through the barrel of a squirt gun) before making their journey to the sunshine state. Appearances aside, none of the girls are bubble gummers, even the actively religious Gomez. The group's lack of innocence is further underlined when three of the four pull a brazen robbery to finance their vacation. This sets the film outside of most crime movies in which the ambitious but green protagonist descends into a debauched life of crime. The girls of "Spring Breakers" always had the potential for magnificent carnality; they just lacked the proper motivation.
Some of this motivation would logically seem to come from Franco's Alien. He's an obvious hustler who bails four ostensibly vulnerable young women out of county jail with nothing but sex on his mind; but the film subverts the preconceptions of their relationship. Underneath Alien's swagger and hideous tattoos lies another young person who ends up burned by the bright lure of excess. For all his posing and garish platinum plated automatic weaponry, Alien doesn't have the stomach for the game. He can't protect his people from his menacing ex-partner (Gucci Mane), and he can only dole out violence to unsuspecting civilians. The triumph of Franco's performance isn't his fervent love of all things extravagant; it's how he subtly lets the scared little boy shine through.
Franco's co-stars aren't in the same class as he is, but writer/director Harmony Korine wisely assigned his players roles suited just for them. Selena Gomez looks younger than she is, so she's cast as the most overwhelmed member of the group. Vanessa Hudgens isn't much of an actress but her eyes betray a disquieting ravenousness, so her character doesn't talk a lot but gets to smash and blast everything in her path. These choices represent a clarity of purpose that Korine has never demonstrated before. By exploiting the intensity and sex appeal of former Disney child soldiers, the "Gummo" helmer has really hit his artistic groove.
Korine has always had a knack for gorgeous imagery and by teaming with cinematographer Benoît Debie ("Enter the Void," Irreversible"), Korine has made his best film. "Spring Breakers" has an eye searing palette that looks to have drawn from a melted pack of Starburst. Tonally, the film evokes recent Gaspar Noé and early 2000's Michael Bay in intensity, with a bit of Michael Mann's later work thrown in for good measure. And Korine really nailed the neon and black light color temperature on which Hype Williams made his name. I would be surprised if the film doesn't end up being the most beautiful film released this year
The film pulses with sexuality but is too frenetic and distant to be erotic. There's gratuitous nudity but little sex and none of it particularly graphic. The most sexually charged scene in the film is a power negotiation between Franco, Benson, and Hudgens that blurs the line between role playing and actual violence. The film's relationship with violence is its most fascinating aspect. At first, when the girls rob a restaurant to fund their vacation, violence is framed as scary and harsh as if to signify that a line has been crossed. Later in a brilliant sequence where the three of the gun toting, ski masked young women circle Franco as he sings Britney Spears' "Everytime" and we see them robbing and brutalizing various spring breakers, it seems atavistic and almost sacred, a physical expression of their profound affection. Finally, when raiding the beachfront compound of Franco's nemesis, the violence becomes mythic and elegiac, full of cascading sounds and imagery, resolving and beginning simultaneously. At this point the film reaches a ethereal sublimity and that's pretty staggering achievement for a spring break movie.
"Spring Breakers" is another one of those "weirdest movies of 2013". It's a story about 4 college girls( Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine)who want to get away and go to spring break, but they have no money. So, they rob a restaurant and head down. While they're there, they get involved with a rapper/gangster named Alien(James Franco), and they just go down a road of crime. So, that's the basic plot, but the movie is made kind of like an art film by Harmony Korine(he directed "Kids"). There are weird angles, and a lot of just odd voice-overs. Scenes of girls dancing while Franco just says "Spring break...spring break....spring break, forever". It's bizarre, but still entertaining. Actually, Franco is one of the funniest and most entertaining characters of the year, in any movie. There's a scene where he is showing the girls all of his guns that is just hilarious by the way he plays it, saying stuff like "I got "Scarface" on repeat...On..Repeat"(you just gotta watch it). He's the best thing about the movie, as the girls aren't really that interesting. Just didn't give them enough to make me care about them, and none of them seem to have much personality at all. Also, the ending is ridiculous. That would never, in a million years happen like that. It's worth a watch, if your into the artsy type films, or seeing Franco just play a real off the wall character. If not, you may not like it. But, it's one of those that you just gotta watch for your self.