Spring Breakers


I think the concept for this movie probably went a little something like this: director Harmony Korine had a dream about a ski-mask covered, fluorescent bikini-clad girl holding an AK-47 and decided that was an indelible cinematic image (it is). The plot is mostly an afterthought – existing primarily to get from one sequence to the next. And it’s an incredible booze, drugs, and crime-fuelled trip.

There are only two reactions to this film: it’s either an offensive off-putting paean to immorality, unwholesome family values and violence or it’s an intoxicating, hypnotic and darkly funny experience. I fall into the latter camp, so take what I say with a grain of salt. If you hate the movie within the first fifteen minutes, I doubt that there’s anything in last seventy-five that will change your opinion (unless you really like James Franco).

There’s no real point talking about the story, except to say that the casting is an inspired choice. Primarily drawn from the ranks of Disney, the public reputations of the leads (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine) work to increase your disbelief of what’s happening on-screen. Rather than unknown actresses snorting cocaine and shooting thugs, these are icons of wholesomeness doing so. It’s a headfirst fall from grace.

Despite the central conceit of “Disney Girls Gone Wild,” it’s James Franco who steals the show and elevates the movie with an infectious, unrestrained glee. Playing a drug dealer-cum-rapper nicknamed “Alien” (real name: Allan), Franco fully commits to the role that involves dreadlocks, terrible body art, an undefinable accent (Gangsta?) and – in one sequence – fellatio with a pistol. He’s an unapologetic moral anarchist oozing charisma. It’s no wonder that the spring breakers get roped into his underworld lifestyle; he makes it sound so appealing.

There’s so many great sequences in this film – a Britney Spears robbing montage, Franco’s “Look at all ma shit” monologue, and the climax of gun-toting bikini-clad spring breakers in black-light. Whatever your opinion of Spring Breakers is, one thing has to be conceded: it’s not an easily forgotten, or forgettable, film. And in an ocean of mediocrity, that’s quite an accomplishment.

Grade: B+

Sidenote: Spring Breakers is a pure wish-fulfilment fantasy. If you think the end sequence of the film is unbelievable, take another look at the opening scene. That’s just as much of a fantasy as becoming a gun-wielding bad ass.


One Response to Spring Breakers

  1. Nostra says:

    It is a movie that’s really different, with the things repeating and imagery which you won’t forget. I agree that Franco was amazing as Alien….also loved his “Look at all my shit” monologue. Still have to put up my own review (which will be up soon).

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