Spring Breakers

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Spring Breakers, Harmony Korine’s new work arrives as part art house visual experience and part girl gang exploitation all mixed into a creamy pina colada.

The story is simple, four school girls want to go on spring break. They dislike their middle class existence and resent the routine mundanity of “normal” life. They just want to go on spring break! The quartet is short on money for the trip and stage a daring, violent robbery. Then they’re off to fulfill their ultimate fantasies on the beach.

Amidst the torrent of drug and alcohol fueled parties, which Korine paints on screen as a modern Gomorrah, the quartet meet Alien (James Franco) – a Florida rapper and self-proclaimed gansta with a capital G – who relishes his life of mid-level criminal mediocrity. Alien has has everything he needs: money, guns, multiple pairs of shorts and Scarface on repeat. In what is an amazing transformation, Franco throws himself fully into Alien, and the character is realised so completely that you lose sight of Franco within him. The girls join up with Alien, and begin to enter his world with dangerous consequences.

Aside from the narrative and visual decisions Korine makes, there has been buzz over the casting of the spring breaker girls; First up is Selena Gomez, who as good-natured Faith is troubled by the trip’s fast descent into criminality. Korine cast his own wife, Rachel Korine, as the party girl of the group, Cotty.

Then there’s Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Benson as Candy and Brit, the real bad girls of the group and the true soul mates to Alien. They form a Bonnie and Bonnie and Clyde relationship that creates the film’s most electrifying moments. Together they create a modern Switchblade Sisters – a girl gang with a heart of gold!

But none of that really matters – the narrative of the film is purely a device for Korine to takes the audience on trip of pulsating music, bright neon love….and Britney Spears songs.

Spring Breakers’ visual style may not be to everyone’s taste, but behind the bright flickering lights is a visceral experience that presents Korine as an artist using the cinema screen as a canvas to create a piece that is more interested in presenting mood and sensation. A polymorphically perverse answer to a question nobody asked but one that must be experienced.  “Spring break…. Spring break forrreverrrrrrr.”

Spring Breakers is now in general release.

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