Movie Review: Spring Breakers [2013]

Spring Breakers [2013]

Spring Breakers [2013]
Director: Harmony Korine
Screenplay: Harmony Korine
Genre: Drama
Starring: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Gucci Mane
Running Time: 94 minutes

Oh how I would have loved to have attended an opening night screening of Spring Breakers, just to gauge the reactions from a full audience. Here is a film that is so polarizing and divisive among critics and movie fans alike, and one that is bound to infuriate those simply looking for a party movie.

Director Harmony Korine, perhaps best known for writing the controversial 1995 film, Kids, has crafted a film unlike any I have ever seen, a rare feat in this day and age.

Spring Breakers tells the story of a quartet of young female college students, two of whom just so happen to be played by former Disney starlets. These four girls — Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson), Cotty (Rachel Korine) and Faith (Selena Gomez) — are all so desperate to leave their boring college town and go on a spring break vacation that they are willing to do anything to come up with enough cash to do so. Their solution? Rob a restaurant using hammers and squirt guns. Shockingly, it works, and the girls head to St. Petersburg, Florida to party their asses off.

The girls are enjoying themselves, drinking, doing drugs, and riding scooters in their tiny bikinis, but their vacation is turned on its head when they meet Alien (James Franco, never better).

Spring Breakers [2013]

Alien is a goofy-looking rapper/gangster (those grills! those cornrows!) who the girls quickly take a liking to, and they get soaked up in his world of crime. What was a typical spring break vacation full of debauchery turns into something none of them could have imagined. It’s here where the film will lose half of its audience, as it goes in a completely different direction than expected.

Harmony Korine deserves major credit for keeping his viewers on their toes, as he seemingly drops bits of foreshadowing then completely disregards them. I had no idea where the film was going to go, and for that, I am impressed.

However, I can’t say I was entirely thrilled with the film’s editing choices. Monologues and certain moments are repeated over and over again, and this repetition grows monotonous over the course of film. At the same time, this is clearly what Korine intended to do, as it is readily apparent he does not care if we are actually entertained. Not everything he does *works*, but he certainly doesn’t lack the courage to do whatever the hell he wants to do.

Spring Breakers [2013]

If there is any common ground in this film, it likely comes in the form of appeal for James Franco and his unforgettable performance as Alien. He is completely ridiculous but also wildly entertaining. People will be talking about him in this film for quite some time. The girls also do well in their roles, though their characters mostly blend together. Only Gomez is given a different story arc, as her character is frequently at odds with the lack of morals presented by her friends.

Spring Breakers is pretty far out there, and as such, it will appeal to a select audience. It’s a challenging, curious film, one that I am not fully in love with, but one that I appreciate all the same. It oozes style, dares to go in directions most films won’t, and it even manages to make Skrillex tolerable. That alone makes it a winner in my book.

7/10

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16 thoughts on “Movie Review: Spring Breakers [2013]

  1. keith7198 says:

    Nice review. I think I’m one of the only people who has absolutely no interest in seeing this even though the divide reviews should draw me to it. It’s been really interesting to read the different takes on it.

  2. CMrok93 says:

    The movie may not be all that good, but the messages and themes it uses underneath it’s sex, drugs, and violence, really hit home with me. Especially in a generation like this. Good review Eric.

  3. sati says:

    I haven’t seen that movie but it looks really intriguing. On one hand it appears to be a movie about bunch of people partying but on another a lot of people seem to love it and give so much praise to it. I’m sure I won’t be floored with this one, but I’ll give it a shot.

  4. sanclementejedi says:

    Spring Break !!! Spring Break !!! Spring Break!!!

    Glad you got this one, I have seen some horrendous reviews that completely missed the whole point of the film.

    Even read one review in the Guardian claiming the film promoted rape culture WTF?

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      Wow. I haven’t read that article, but that sounds absolutely ridiculous. It does seem like the film went over a lot of people’s heads, but then again that’s not too surprising given the controversial subject matter.

  5. ilovethatfilm says:

    Yeah the repetition of dialogue did get a bit annoying towards the end but Skrillex was perfect for that opening scene. James Franco doing Britney was one of the most spellbinding moments I’ve ever seen!

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