Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers ★★★★★

"It's way more than just having a good time."

From visionary director Harmony Korine ( writer of "Kids") comes the neon lit, rapidly cut, dreamy "Spring Breakers".

Spring Breakers is one of those somewhat art-house films that managed to break into the mainstream rotation. It follows the story of four college aged girls that go to Florida for spring break, and fall in with the wrong people.

My biggest reason for deciding to see, and recommending the film is my favorite dp (cinematographer), Benoit Debie. Benoit is the cinematic mastermind behind all of Gaspar Noe's films as well as Ryan Gosling's "Lost River"; a true pioneer of combining modern cinematography techniques such as high saturation, neon gels, and handheld. The high excess spring break party and club scene of Florida elevates Benoit to a level of prowess similar to "Enter the Void". The swooping cranes and cgi of "Enter the Void" give way to the shaky handheld and rapid cuts of "Spring Breakers". The final effect is equal to somewhat a mix of "Requiem of a Dream" and "Enter the Void". He brings back visual effects used in "Enter the Void" to simulate drug use; while it isn't new, it's a nice touch. The lighting is brilliant. If you know Benoit, there's nothing else to say other than his name in the lighting category. His name is the highest praise and best description I can give. His lens choice is unique against his other works. All the lights have these incredibly stylized horizontal lens flares. Something I'm sure we'll see more of in the future. Just as the girls, drugged out of their minds, scan the party looking for more coke or boys, Benoit helps the viewer to get in a similar state of mind; searching the frame for beautiful body or ridiculous sight. The images are so visually seductive and rich with neon it takes no effort to get completely immersed into a debaucherous mindset.

Though the film is smothered in Benoit Debie's distinctive cinematic style, Harmony Korine's directing still shines through. It's clear where he made very wise directorial decisions (no spoilers).

The four girls chosen are all excellent. I must admit I don't know any of their names except Selena Gomez, but I must look them up after this review. Each one of them perfectly embodies a siren-like characterization decision. Physically beautiful, sexual, dangerous, and hyper-active. Of course I couldn't forget about James Franco, he is on the poster after all. Best James Franco role ever. Unfortunately I can't go into detail about his character unlike the girls because it's better experienced than spoiled.

I should get this out of the way: I don't listen to a lot of music, but when I do, there's a little techno. However, I hate Skrillex. Whatever fear I may have had about Skrillex performing the score faded after the first minute. His hard electronic sound and bass blend perfectly with the themes present. The choice of Skrillex must have been a questionable decision for Korine at first, but it paid off gloriously.

The film never takes a firm stance on the activities depicted. In that way the story is multi-layered. Thought it's not long or complicated, it has depth not seen in many movies. Of course the story is never the most important aspect of a film; it's the overall experience that matters. One should always be asking themselves: "How does this movie make me feel?". The experience is distinct and unforgettable, as a result of Korine's excellent artistic vision.

Unlike the several other films I've reviewed, I can't recommend this to many people. The sexual and drug related content could be perceived as excessive to some people, and that's understandable. I would recommend this to anyone who likes art-house movies as well as anyone who like high impact movies such as any Gaspar Noe movie or "Requiem for a Dream".

Final Score: 10/10

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