Thursday, March 28, 2013

Review: Spring Breakers (2013)

"Spring Break... forever."

Directed by Harmony Korine
Produced by Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Jordan Gertner, Chris Hanley and David Zander
Written by Harmony Korine
Starring Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine and James Franco

****

Korine's new film is a brisk, tongue-in-cheek exercise in excess, featuring the previously underused talents of its young actresses and the Oscar-nominated James Franco. The set-up is simple: four college girls (played marvelously by Gomez, Hudgens, Benson and Korine) go to St. Petersburg, Florida for spring break. What follows is, of course, partying, drinking, drug use, and jail time, as the girls find themselves behind bars for their illegal activities. The girls are sprung by Alien (Franco), a rapping, drug-dealing gangster who loves to show off his wealth and live the high life. Despite some reluctance within the group, the girls move in with him, and they become even more wild in his company. But Alien's enemy wants him off the streets, which forces the girls to fight for an end to this crazy ride. (Note: In the interest of avoiding substantial spoilers, I tweaked some of the details mentioned above, but not enough to alter the narrative.)

Now, I wouldn't blame anyone if they hated this film. It's loud, gritty, and offers no break from its endless in-your-face style. While it could be deemed laughable and dismissed, I find it to be a well-executed and striking portrayal of reckless youth and the world in which American teenagers live. Korine knows what wants he wants, and he doesn't hold back. With all of the partying, violence and ludicrousness going on in this film, it easily could've fallen apart in another filmmaker's hands. Of course, the performances are also top-notch. As unbelievable as these characters may be for some, I believed in them, even in Franco's seemingly over-the-top but somehow completely dialed-in work. Add the luminous cinematography and pulsating soundtrack, and the result is a film I absolutely love. Naturally, its release date and subject matter won't lead to major awards consideration, but I'll remember its brilliance throughout the year.

Oscar Potential: None

22 comments:

  1. Ahah, is that Franco with cornrows?? Glad you enjoyed this Josh, but I'm not at all interested in it. Your last line about Oscar Potential had me in stitches!!

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    1. Ha, yes it is. Well, this was NEVER going to be an Oscar film. :)

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  2. I cant say that I LOVED it as a whole, but I have a hard time imagining anyone creating a more memorable character this year than Franco did here. He was awesome. LOL

    I fully understand where both parties (the haters and the big fans) are coming from on this one... I somehow managed to shake out in the middle, myself. ;)

    Nice review though Josh!

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    1. Thanks Fogs! It's hard to forget Franco's performance. Glad you liked the film overall.

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  3. I can't wait to see this! Great review!

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  4. I'll be staying miles away from this one. But it's been interesting to see the variety of reaction.

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    1. That's understandable. Yeah, the reaction is all over the place.

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  5. Good review Josh. It's a crazy movie, but in all the right ways because of what it talks about and how it does it all.

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    1. Thanks Dan. I love that it embraces what it is, and never holds back.

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  6. Nice review. I'm seeing this soon! I'm really excited haha.

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    1. Thanks. I don't blame you. I was too! :)

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  7. I've seen several reviews of this film, and I'm still not sure what to think about it. It sounds kind of like a cross between a bad teen movie and an edgy indie flick. Ha ha. Based on your recommendation, I'll give it a go when it comes to DVD.

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    1. Ha, I don't blame you. It's a film that is getting all sorts of reactions. Hope you find it worthwhile when you see it.

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  8. Right on Josh, the other two guys thought I was nuts for digging this one.

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    1. Awesome! Rest assured, you're perfectly sane. :)

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  9. Josh I posted this on reddit for you http://redd.it/1bfmck

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  10. YES! So glad you liked this one. Our sentiments about the film are spot on, and I too agree that there's no blaming people who don't like it. A polarizing flick if there ever was one.

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    1. Polarizing, indeed. I was thrilled that I loved it so much, and it's awesome that we agree on this one.

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