Harmony Korine (Gummo, Trash Humpers) returns to feature film with his controversial party film “Spring Breakers”. The film has a bunch of young and upcoming actresses. The likes of Selena Gomez (Monte Carlo) Vanessa Hudgens (Sucker Punch) Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars) and Rachel Korine who is the directors wife. James Franco as “Alien” joins the group of girls in this wild, confrontational summer flick. I will be the first to say I’m not really a big fan of Harmony Korine. I liked some of his script and writing work, but I don’t think he directs well.
The story is about four young college girls who are looking to leave their boring lives behind and get away for some fresh scenery. They are all doing what they can to pool their money so they can go to Florida for Spring Break. After some illegal activity and heavy partying in Florida they wind up in Jail. They meet “Alien” (Franco) who bails them out, he takes on the responsibility of taking care of them.
I really like this cast. It goes without saying that the four young women have a lot of fun throughout the film and they do look gorgeous. They do a commendable job, Gomez as “Faith” is the closest thing we get to a protagonist. Selena plays the part well, Faith appears to have gotten caught up in the wrong crowd and quickly regrets her bad decision-making. Sadly she is written out of the story fairly early on, I think that was a mistake.
James Franco steals the show with his performance as “Alien”, a gangster mixed up in drugs and munitions dealing, he also fancies himself a bit of a rapper. Some may say James over sells it but i think the character is written that way. He has his incessant rants about fame and money and living the life. With his silver teeth, dreadlocks and baggy clothing you really think the guy is delusional (haha)
I found this film to be a very clever marketing ploy in getting viewers hooked. I mean I watched it and I knew it probably wasn’t even going to appeal to me! I think it says a lot about the world of marketing. Things like alcohol, drugs, peer pressure, money and fame. What people think will make them happy and the fact that people don’t dare to be different or think for themselves. Actions always have consequences but the full extent is never really shown at all in the film. Personally it disgusts me to see what the youth of today thinks is appropriate behaviour. Anyone thinking the same as me will probably find it hard to immerse themselves in this trip.
The look of the film supports the lifestyle these characters are living. It’s got Harmony Korine stamped all over it. It’s bright fluorescent lighting, overbearing soundtrack and constant use of slow-motion all wear thin pretty quickly. There was one piece of instrumental music I liked when “Faith” was on the bus, I don’t know the artist though. On the surface most of the characters seem happy however anyone with a bit of intuition could see they are anything but happy. We don’t know the full extent of why because it’s never covered. From what we know they appear to have come from normal backgrounds. They are studying in college obviously aiming to get a job? I’m not sure where the desperation to escape their so-called miserable lives even comes from?
The only person with any likeability is Faith (Gomez) and like I said she is written out too early. Franco is hilarious but “Alien” is just a sleazy human being. I can only assume these young girls have parenting issues. Korine did some of the writing for one of my favourite films “Kids” back in 1995. That film covered the importance of parenting and upbringing, with no parental guidance kids can quickly get out of control. The whole Spring Break thing is just a gimmicky attempt to show girls in next to no clothing grinding random guys. It depicts this whole MTV, social media lifestyle that the youth of today places importance on. If you’re a bit older and more mature you can’t look past the fact that these are all terribly immature people. There are so many people conforming to what other people want them to be that after a while you just lose any respect for them.
Towards the end of the movie I was able to pick certain things before they unfolded. Several scenes grate your nerves after they have been repeated for the tenth time. I think it may have been an artistic way of depicting the effects of some of the drugs the girls and Alien take. None the less Alien singing Britney Spears songs horribly out of key for a ten minute scene, achieves nothing. The main sex scene in the pool is another example of the repeated use of dialogue. If I heard “Spring Break” once I heard it a thousand times, not sure why? These characters just like to hear themselves talk, kind of like an episode of Jersey Shore.
I commend Korine on making something with a bit of controversy, it shakes hollywood and it’s critics up a bit. Today’s society isn’t shocked by much, an attempt at shock value is not enough to make something memorable. You want to see characters that are accountable for their actions. I get that we as humans are fallible, we make mistakes, we live and we learn but no one in this film actually does. They give the impression that they have learnt something but we know actions always have consequences, to pretend they don’t for the sake of a happy ending, gives false hope. Where were the parents in all of this? Or the cops for that matter?
My rating for “Spring Breakers” is 5/10