Film Review: Spring Breakers

Four college girls who land in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their spring break vacation find themselves bailed out by a drug and arms dealer who wants them to do some dirty work.

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spring-breakers-image09This is a good example of the phrase: “Looks can be deceiving”. When you see the cast of Spring Breakers (Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and even the current Wizard Of Oz James Franco!) you could assume that this will just be a highly sexed up saucy movie about teens on their end of school Spring break.

However, this assumption is bound to change as soon as you see the R rating for it’s strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use and violence and that the director is Harmony Korine. At the age of 19, he wrote the critically acclaimed screenplay Kids (1995) for director Larry Clark. Korine followed this by writing and directing another youth-centred film: Gummo in 1997.

Spring Breakers actually turns out to be an extremely dark movie which can be put under various genres. The movie is full of drama, action, adventure and a little comedy. It could pass as either an art house or international piece or a cult movie!

It starts with four college girls Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine) and Faith (Selena Gomez) who have been best friends since junior school. All they have to do is save enough money so they can join the annual spring exodus down South for their spring break vacation. Unfortunately they go about this the wrong way after they use all of their money to buy drugs and end up in jail after robbing a restaurant in order to fund their trip.

They find themselves bailed out by rapper “Alien” (James Franco) a drug and arms dealer who promises to provide them with all the thrill and excitement they could hope for. However, things are never that easy and Alien also wants them to do some dirty work for him. With the encouragement of their new friend, how far are the girls willing to go to experience a spring break they will never forget?

This is such an extreme change of characters for the leads. Franco is completely unrecognisable as rapper-gangster Alien, with his gold teeth and he is so hilarious in the role that he walks off with the entire film. We also see Gomez and Hudgens crush their Disney princess images as party girls – Faith and Candy.

Despite Spring Breakers campy and comic feel at times, Korine also gives the film a downbeat, melancholic edge with his use of voiceovers, pointed repetition of dialogue and images, with dark settings and hallucinatory camera work, sound and editing.

This is a pretty dark look at the relentless pursuit of pleasure at the cost of one’s soul and how warped aspirations are becoming a big issue among today’s youth.

YOU WILL LIKE THIS IF YOU LIKED:
Trainspotting with Ewan McGregor (1996)
Animal Kingdom with Joel Edgerton (2010)
Kids (1995)

RATING OUT OF FIVE STARS: 2.5/5

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