'Spring Breakers' breaks college-movie mold
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 22:03
What happens when you combine Skrillex, a pimped-out James Franco, ex-Disney Channel stars with a wild streak and a truly fresh and original story? You get “Spring Breakers,” the new cinematic venture from Harmony Korine that blends a timeless college tradition with the inner-workings of the St. Petersburg gang scene.
Quite honestly, “Spring Breakers” is the best college-centric movie to hit theaters in the past five years, mostly thanks to Korine’s heavy lifting as the film’s writer and director.
The movie follows a quartet of bored collegiates: Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson) Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) as they venture past the line of morality to spend spring break like the rest of their classroom piers.
Strapped for cash, the group (sans Faith) robs a local diner clad in black ski masks with an arsenal of painted water guns and miniature sledgehammers for protection.
These aren’t experienced criminals, but their inflated egos wouldn’t tell you that.
The initial robbery scene is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the girls’ bad doing as “Spring Breakers” progresses.
The movie takes a sinister turn when the girls are introduced to Alien, James Franco’s grill-wearing gangster character that is equal parts satirical and serious.
James Franco, albeit a polarizing figure for the industry, is at his best in “Spring Breakers.” The actor adopts his character’s mentality fully as everything from his accent to his walk rings with authenticity. Some believe that Franco’s character is over-the-top and too showy, however, considering the context, Alien is by far the best on screen.
Like any movie centered around the world of gangs, Alien is fighting with rival Archie, played by, you guessed it, Gucci Mane for control of the city.
Once Alien meets the four girls, he uses them to his advantage to increase his stake on the streets.
As the runtime ticks on, the girls act as Alien’s henchmen, err, henchwomen as they brutally rob and beat anyone who stands in their way.
For Gomez and Hudgens, “Spring Breakers” is a drastic turn from their Disney Channel days. While Gomez’s Faith may be the most moral-bounded of the group, that doesn’t stop her from partaking in a booze and debauchery-filled Spring Break as expected of her age.
Hudgens is unapologetically raunchy from the get-go as the film’s first scene shows the actress doing untypeable things to a piece of paper. Somewhere, Mickey Mouse is in tears.
Ultimately, what separates “Spring Breakers” from it’s college-bound genre is Korine’s bold decisions behind the camera.
Even with the most simple of scenes, like taking notes during a lecture, Korine manages to frame Finch-worthy shots with neon motifs that border along noir.
This aspect of Korine’s clever camerwork is most prevalent during the film’s final heist.
While the story may jump between the absurd and the painfully true, Korine stays on track and paces the film with such a slow-burn that the audience knows that something’s bound to explode.
And explode is does.