Monday, April 22, 2013

Review: Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, 2013)

Childhood friends and college students Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) are beset on escaping their dull college lives with a trip to Florida for Spring Break. To obtain the necessary funds they resort to robbing a fast-food restaurant with hammers and squirt guns, and are soon on their way to a spend a rebellious week behaving recklessly. Following an exceedingly wild party, the girls find themselves arrested, before being bailed out by Alien (James Franco) a gangster-rapper with ties to narcotics and arms dealing. While Faith is uncomfortable with Alien’s lifestyle and associates, the other three girls wholeheartedly embrace his promise to treat them to all the excitement and life experience they sought from a Florida retreat.

The brave performances from former Disney stars Gomez (Monte Carlo) and Hudgens (High School Musical), and ABC star Benson (Pretty Little Liars) are one of the film’s chief calling cards. Their wild behaviour is unnerving and a testament to their evident range of talents. The unknown (to me) was Korine, who not-coincidentally happens to be the wife of the writer/director Harmony Korine (Gummo, Trash Humpers). Korine’s credits have been met with continued controversy and dealt with themes of social dysfunction through absurdist surrealism and cinema-verite aesthetics, but have become underground cult classics.

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