Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers ★★★★½

"Let's cause some trouble now...live life to the full-est." - Alien

From the two Harmony Korine films I've seen (this and his debut, Gummo), I can deduce that he makes trash become art. Both films have a captivating and hypnotic feel to them, mostly due to their stunning visuals. While Gummo was down-and-dirty and honest, Spring Breakers is so neon and artificial, it's practically radioactive. This is no bad thing, since it fulfils what the film is really about: experiences.

Something that adds to the experience (when this factor would take something away from the film) is the characters. Two-dimensional and unlikeable, they're the stuff of nightmares in real life. But in this neon-hued world of bikinis and big booties (after all, y'all, that's what life is a-bout), they are at home. The four girls don't give what you could call great performances, but that hardly matters, since everyone in the entire film is eclipsed by James Franco. Franco is on sensational form here. Largely unrecognisable underneath cornrows and a grill of gold teeth, he is, in his own highly eloquent words, "the Death Star up in this sheey-it!" A towering performance of charisma, creepiness and surprising emotional depth, this is likely to be the iconic performance that he's going to remembered for in years to come.

Korine's control over the soundscape is also staggering. The score (marvellously crafted by Cliff Martinez and Skrillex, of all people) drives the film forward, but the occasional peppering of repeated dialogue is a masterstroke that reinforces the film's hypnotic swagger. Illicit whispers immerse us even more in the world of Florida at spring break, and it's really very soothing among the bombardment of vividity.

The climax of the film is a dream-like finale, full of grace, and this typifies the movie. It's an excessive wallow in depravity, fun and the mornings after, and makes it into a film that washes over you like the seas of the Southern American coast, instead of one that bashes you around the head with a shotgun and slams your face into a cake.

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