Sunday, June 22, 2014
Indie Review: Spring Breakers
A Colorful Yet Red-Blooded 'Spring Break' From Hell
Even though I wasn't fond of the last film I saw by director Harmony Korine, Gummo, I still feel that Korine is a director that has a voice. With his latest film, Spring Breakers, Korine certainly and brilliantly showcases his unique voice in a film that works like Drive meets Britney Spears on acid.
Spring Breakers follows four college friends (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine) who long to see something different and go away for spring break. In order to get some money, they decide to rob a restaurant and head to Florida. Once they get there, they stumble across a rather enigmatic man who goes by the name of Alien (James Franco) and gets them involved in rather dark escapades.
What I Liked About It:
First off, I absolutely loved the cinematography. The film has such colorful lighting and in my opinion, it really adds to the rather acidic feel the film has. I also really loved the way the film was edited. Usually, I never describe a film's editing, but here, it was spectacular. My favorite sequence in the film was the one where Alien is playing the song "Everytime" by Britney Spears and while he is and the girls are dancing, it cuts back and forth between them dancing and singing along, and bits of them robbing different people. I would imagine that scene will stick to my head for quite a while, along with James Franco's performance, which I will get to next.
Holy crap, was James Franco awesome in this. Not only does Franco physically become Alien, through the heavy use of tattoos as well as donning cornrows and grills on his teeth, but performance-wise he just became Alien. He really captures the character's enigmatic nature through the use of his sleazy grin. He was funny, devious, and at times chilling. Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, two former Disney darlings, are also very good as well and it is quite wonderful to see them take a risk by doing a film like this. Gomez is especially good as the film's moral center who coincidentally enough is the only non-blonde female. Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine, who play the other two main females, are also brilliant.
One thing that I thought was pretty interesting was how it plays on the whole theme of the pursuit of the American Dream, yet does it in its own unique spin. It is done in a much more colorful way, through the demonstration of today's younger generation influenced by rap music and partying college students. The incredible and fast-paced score by Skrillex and Cliff Martinez also adds to this unique narration as well.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Overall, Spring Breakers is a fast-paced nightmarish action flick that is ironically, beautiful to look at. It has brilliant cinematography, a soundtrack with repeat value, and a scene-swallowing performance by James Franco. This may not be for everyone since it is violent at times and has scenes of nudity and drug use. But, if you like dark comedy with some action thrown in, I would put this high on your watch list.