Spring Breakers is a surprising dose of brilliance. Why is it surprising? Because Harmony Korine has been dividing audiences since his writing debut in 1995 with Kids. He’s back with a new film that he wrote and directed, and in fact, we’re absolutely positive you’ve heard something about it.
Since Spring Breakers started shooting in Florida, there has been a flood of Spring Breakers photos and Korine could have cared less about shielding the world from what he was working on. One can see why now that Movie Fanatic has seen the film.
It is genius.
One could watch the Spring Breakers trailer and think that the film is a typical raunch fest about a group of girls letting loose in Florida for spring break. That’s about as simple as a description as one could give for Korine’s film. It is simultaneously a comment on American society in 2013 with its obsession with sex, drugs, guns and entitlement of fun and a gorgeously shot, marvelously edited cinematic dreamscape.
Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Korine’s wife Rachel star as a group of college girls from rural Florida who want a change of scenery as their classmates head off for spring break. Only, they’re a little light on funds. What to do? How about rob a restaurant and run off to the beach for the party of a lifetime? In the words of Hudgens’ Candy when she tries to psych her friends into committing the crime, “It’s just like a videogame.” Point made, Mr. Korine.
Once in party town, Korine perhaps pushes the exploitative nature of spring break a little too much, but he has to show the extreme before he can pull it back. Who are we kidding? He pushes it even further.
The girls happen to rage a little too hard in one particular hotel room and the cops arrest them for drug possession and public drunkenness. Then the film hits a whole new level of awesomeness as James Franco appears as a wanna-be rapper and budding crime boss named Alien. He bails out the ladies and promises he wants nothing from them, except to just have a good time and enjoy “spring break forever,” as he ever so slowly says in his Florida drawl.
As seen in the Spring Breakers red band trailer, the stench of violent danger is around every corner once Franco enters the picture. Some of the girls take to it, and others want nothing to do with it. All we can say is the picture takes a dark turn that is highlighted with edgy humor.
Korine pushes his cast and each fills their roles effectively and efficiently. Hudgens perhaps pushes it a little too much, but kudos for her for putting it out beyond her previous cinematic comfort zone. Ashley Benson plays it sensationally stoic while the young Korine is a revelation. Then, there is Gomez. For those who think this film is a huge departure for the young actress… well, let’s just say you need to see Spring Breakers. It’s not so far of a stretch at all for the Love You Like a Love Song singer, honestly.
The true star of Spring Breakers is its writer-director. He weaves lines throughout that have already been said as voice-overs while at other times flashing back visually to previous moments in the film. As such, he creates a thematic storytelling technique that continually keeps his audience on its collective toes. This is one film where you will not want to blink or leave your seat and frankly, it will not stop stirring your emotional core for days to come after viewing it.