Josh Keown | Night Terror Novels 🧛🏻♂️’s review published on Letterboxd:
“You're my mother fuckin' soul-mates.”
-Alien (James Franco)
Spring Breakers; The American Dream becomes the American Neon-Nightmare in this coming of age tale gone horribly wrong. Schlocky, erratic and oh so hellish, the latest film from distinctive director Harmony Korine is something of a wonder to this here film fanatic.
I saw a trailer for an old documentary the day before watching this, which focussed on those aptly titled ‘Midnight Movies’ they had back in the day – trashy pictures that were often excessively violent, sexualised or just plain shocking, such as Pink Flamingos, The Evil Dead, or Eraserhead). The two coinciding was likely little more than coincidence, but it did get me thinking how much Spring Breakers draws upon that sub-genre of film.
For the most part, the sex, drugs and violence are there in abundance, and the interaction between the three is managed nicely by director Korine (besides a slightly absurd and somewhat unbelievable finale). It certainly wasn’t what I was expecting, and the four girls really did shed their inhibitions (and other… stuff…) for this.
The ladies weren’t actually so bad acting-wise, though Gomez was by far the weakest link in the scantily-clad chain, offering the most boring character of the four. The others did fine, though the real star of this dazzling show is the cornrow-styled, gold toothed rapper Alien, played with an incredible amount of committed craziness by James Franco. He is spectacular. Marvellous. Words can’t describe how insanely brilliant he is.
The acting isn’t ever really that big an issue, it’s the writing that often undercuts the film. Even this is made up for by Korine’s assured direction and impeccable visual style and wonderful cinematography. The whole thing is like some bizarre hypnotic dream; a never-ending loop of madness, but one that sucks you in so much that secretly you don’t want this spring break to end either.
All things considered, Spring Breakers is a funny little film, and one that I’m not ashamed to admit has taken me aback a bit. Is it simply low brow entertainment, all glitz and glamour, or is it perhaps an intelligent satire on the decay of modern society?
At times, I would argue that it appears to be both. Though the sometimes sub-par writing, repetition of scenes and dialogue and varied quality in acting at times drag it down, the Fantastic Franco (whom is more of a magician here than in Oz), Korine’s vivid direction and his marked knack for artistic and sound design elevate Breakers a cut above. With better writing though, the social commentary could’ve been nailed and the dodgy dialogue made a bit more believable, but as it is this was an immensely enjoyable and intensely memorable picture that should put a distance between the four leads and their roots, thankfully.
VERDICT; So yeah. A strange one. Love it or hate it. But I don’t do no lovin’ (y’all) and I try not to do no hatin’ (y’all), so I just left a little confused, a little weirded out, and liking Hudgens and Benson a little more than I had before, y’all. *AHEM*.
But I would watch it again.
…And probably again after that.
…And again (I loved it). Spring Break forever…