Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

Review of Spring Breakers

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

this entry brought to you by marilyn manson, "sweet dreams (are made of this)"

I should say that I'd seen several of director Harmony Korine's movies before Spring Breakers-- notably Gummo, which is a genius-level faux documentary/white trash exploitation/ terrifying nightmare inducer, so I knew what I was getting into before seeing it. Korine's movies often involve teenage sex, tons of nudity, and a loose, bordering on non existent narrative, and you're never sure how much of it is scripted, and how many people whose faces you don't recognize are actually actors or are just locals being used.

Spring Breakers is well within Korine's wheelhouse, as there are teens up to no good immediately. Four college students, all around 19, one of them a bible-study regular, are desperate to head to Florida for spring break but lack the funds, so three of them, after smoking some weed, violently and gleefully rob a local deli. From there they make it to their destination, and debauchery-- the gross, coke-off-a-girl's-breasts, sex-with-a-pair-of-twins simultaneously kind of debauchery-- commences. The girls get arrested, only to be sprung from jail by a drug dealer named Alien, played by James Franco, who is clearly having fun playing the skeeviest skeeving scumbag in the history of movies. So far so good.

But once one of the girls gets shot, Spring Breakers changes from an unflinching teensploitation film that Korine is so good at, into-- what? An extended dream sequence? A crime superhero drama? A feminist about-face, rejecting the victimhood of the first half? A racist commentary on racism? A stoned power fantasy? As the characters switch from dumb girls being bad to bad girls being terrifying to terrifying girls being bulletproof death-dealing comic book vigilantes, we watch extended sequences of our trashy villain pondering his life as lines of dialogue are repeated dreamily and he sings Britney Spears songs played with plaintive piano while gazing out at the sea. The girls call their parents back home and realize they've grown up in just the past two weeks, where just days prior they were playing psycho-sexual freak-out games with a disturbingly willing Alien. The violent climax features almost exclusively black characters being shot by two of our white heroines, clad only in hockey masks and bikinis in a scene so over the top it couldn't possibly be on accident.

All of Harmony Korine's movies have left me with a disgusted, dirty feeling and I've wanted to take a shower after seeing them, but I was also left feeling invigorated and never unsure what it was I was seeing. With Spring Breakers I had all those feelings, but also felt overwhelmed in that the movie seemed defiantly wallowing in moral low grounds, and instead of redeeming itself or staying distant enough to be a warning or a documentation of some kind, it indulges in its worst aspects. I won't say that it's a morally objectionable film because it seems to be the same sort of film Korine always makes, although if this were the first film I'd seen by the director you could easily talk me into feeling that it is. What I will say is that I'm not sure I care about what the movie is challenging me with.

with love from CRS @ 2:53 PM 


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