James’s review published on Letterboxd:
Spring Breakers is director Harmony Korine's declaration of war on the senses. It's ninety minutes of stimulation overload. The film offers relentless visual and sonic bombardment meant to replicate, and ridicule the gilded ADHD elements of modern American youth culture. This is not your conventional bikini clad exploitation film by any means.
The film centers around a quartet of young college girls aching to escape the monotony of their everyday lives (drinking, smoking, partying). After robbing a diner to fund their expedition, the girls head down to Florida, the one place where they can let their hair down and enjoy the freedoms of Spring Break (where they can drink, smoke and party, naturally). The girls, played by Vanessa Hudgens, Ashely Benson, Selena Gomez and the director's wife, Rachel Korine, end up in trouble with the law after they arrive at their beach front party destination. Luckily for them, a charismatic drug dealer/rapper/ all around hustler named Alien comes to their rescue...only to drag them further down the path of debauchery and mayhem. James Franco's performance as Alien is the absolute highlight of the film. In a movie rife with gratuitous amounts of T&A (including Hudgens and Benson in a partially underwater threesome), that's saying something. His take on Alien is both equal parts endearing and repulsive at the same time.
I think Franco shines so well in this film because he's in on the joke. He and director Harmony Korine appear to exist on the same wave length. A pair of anti-establishment rabble rousers who enjoy biting the corporate hand that feeds them. Stunt cast the hottest Disney teen idols in roles that will surely shock/alienate their fan base. Craft a film that embraces the tenets of the vapid youth culture it seeks to lampoon. On the surface, Spring Breakers is a flawed film. It's character's are one dimensional and the plot is ridiculous. But that's the point.
Korine's Disney Princess bikini flick is really an experimental art house film. Through the pummeling use of repetition, recycling the same bits of audio and visual segments onscreen the way a DJ might loop a beat, Korine's Spring Breakers is more akin to an electronic dance song than a traditional film. Hence all the Britney Spears love. This is why Spring Breakers is an astonishing success. The movies plays out like a MDNA fever dream, something this generation of American youths, who've been raised on Twitter, YouTube and Grand Theft Auto, are, for better or worse, all too familiar with.
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