The movie Spring Breakers is about four girls willing to throw all sense and caution to the wind in order to escape their small town lives to go to Florida on spring break. Do their crimes and parties make for a good movie?
Spring Breakers was directed by Harmony Korine, who is better known as an art-house sort of Indie director with movies such as Gummo and Kids. He was able to corrupt several cute actresses such as Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and his own wife Rachel Korine into taking the lead roles. They are joined in the misadventures by James Franco and Gucci Mane. The story centers around the young women going to Florida after committing a crime to afford the trip. Well, three of them, Selena Gomez is a bit more holy and merely hears about the robbery. Once in Florida they party hard and think they have found paradise. Then they land in jail and subsequently meet James Franco’s character who helps them take the spring break party to the next level with his criminal lifestyle.
The trailers for the movie Spring Breakers make it look like a sexy, drug-filled party with violence on tap. However, if you’re looking for something that is an intense crime thriller, you’ve come to the wrong movie. It stays true to the people wondering around with voice over and thoughtful skylines vibe of many Indie dramas, though with a soundtrack that is far more killer in the form of Skrillex and Britney Spears pop. Ultimately it is like watching a very extended montage of music videos with a loose plot and an exploration of character values that are worth thinking about.
James Franco rises above all others in the acting department. He brought his character to life and by doing so was able to raise the believable factor of all those wide-eyed and dumb girls around him. I do not mean the actresses, I mean the characters first experiencing the scary world outside of Kentucky. The girls all do a super job of looking super sexy and fill their roles as well as their bikinis, but truly, Harmony Korine and his camera were the masters at work in the their performances.
Right out of the gates Spring Breakers is a profane set of visuals, or beautiful, depending on your morality meter. It is full of nudity and kids partying hard, and those visuals do not slow down in being represented too often. However, instead of seeing it as gratuitous exploitation, you can have an open mind and think of it as satire befitting the theme of the project. Spring Breakers does have some of that “Natural Born Killers” vibe to it, even without the extreme artsy production values. When it does feel somewhat exploitative, ala the camera pushes in close on the girl’s crotches from time to time, it feels like an accurate representation of what the girl’s have opened themselves up to.
The usage of a Britney Spears song during a music video style montage that opens with James Franco belting out the ballad is one of the most creative and visually interesting moments of the movie. I don’t want to give too much away, but the girls in their swimsuits and pink ski masks twirling before the beautiful horizon with Franco at the piano is otherworldly.
Ultimately the risky lifestyle chosen by the movie’s characters leads toward a violent climax. However, it was in the ending that I did not feel the final punch of emotion. I liked what was done in the voice over, but the visuals on screen came across as weak in their staging. We’re talking a short, modern day attempt at some Scarface action if Scarface was the invader, in a bikini, and his little friend was quite a bit smaller. It sounds cool, but it played weak.
Spring Breakers is a movie that should be watched more than once and at different times when you are in different moods. I found it to be merely “okay” even with all of the positive things I had to say about it. There was just something not clicking right for me amongst all of the repetitive poetry of the voice over and on screen debauchery. The party ended in a disappointing fashion and even though I’d check it out again on blu-ray I’m not thinking it was worth the actual price of a full on movie theater ticket.