I went to see ‘Spring Breakers’ on a lark. I knew the general plot, i.e. four beach babes perform an armed robbery to get money to go on spring break. Okay, I figured, maybe it’s a silly comedy filled with eye candy. I was not prepared for what ‘Spring Breakers’ is and I have not been able to stop thinking about it since. The film is violent, ugly, beautiful, corrupt but also provocative and breathtaking. The is Satan’s version of Spring Break.
Certainly, this film has comedy in it but I don’t think anyone is going to laugh through all the outrageous violence and moral licentiousness. But of course, the filmmaker — Harmony Korine — is well aware of what he’s doing and his work is a commentary on the segments of our society that embrace violence, drugs and cash above all else. As James Franco’s character says, “I am the American dream.” He says this in a bedroom filled with automatic weapons, his bed filled with guns and cash, his dresser soaked in cocaine, his wall filled with hundreds of different caps and shorts. His character has gold teeth and, yes, gold bullets.
Sadly, I think more than a few of the people in the theater would like to be Franco’s character Alien. And that’s Korine’s point, right? I’m not sure everyone is going to ‘get’ his film; I think some people may aspire to be like the women at the center of this hedonistic fantasy. And if they don’t get it, that’s not the director’s fault, is it? It just underscores his sad commentary on what’s important in America. If you happen to be the parent of a teenager or college age kid, maybe you’d better not see this film because you’ll want to buy your own island and move your family there.
This film is gorgeously shot and edited, and its actors are all on the money, even Selena Gomez. She can act. And man, so can James Franco. This is an Oscar-worthy performance. He is sensational.
And you have to hand it to Korine. He never takes the easy way out. Every time I thought the movie would take a predictable turn, it went the other way which had me on the edge of seat. I was squirming for a lot of this flick but it is stuck in my psyche. Given the quality of the performances and the beautiful shooting and editing, it’s hard to believe this was made for only $2 million. Surely, Franco took way less than his usual fee and has a piece of the profits. He deserves it. Here’s the official trailer and, after you watch it, check out this mash-up of “Spring Breakers” and “Girls” that a friend sent along.