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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Review: Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers, the new film from Harmony Korine, is a very weird, divisive movie. I saw it over a week ago, at the very start of my own spring break, and I am still not sure what I thought of it.
The film follows four college students (played by Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson from “Pretty Little Liars” and Rachel Korine, the director’s wife) who rob a restaurant to fund a spring break trip to Florida. While partying, they meet a white gangsta named Alien (James Franco) who brings the girls into a criminal underworld and a conflict with a rival drug dealer (played by trap rap god Gucci Mane).
Now, the premise alone is great. I came into the film expecting an estrogen-charged crime movie, like “Heat” if the robbers were all women and crazy white men.
However, the execution is where the movie will divide people. Korine decided to make the movie rather surreal, employing film editing in a disorienting way, with cuts having no real rhythm about them. In addition, Korine frequently inserts visual flashbacks into scenes, which can be distracting. The editing ruined the film for one of my friends.
The biggest problem with the film is that it is very hard to relate to the characters and I’m not sure if this is intentional. The four girls spend the first half of the movie either bored or partying. They’re not characters, just pretty shells. The exception is Alien, who is a decently written character who is given life by James Franco’s great performance. There also wasn’t enough of Gucci Mane.
There are a lot of good parts besides James Franco’s scenes. There’s a memorable montage that juxtaposes Britney Spears’s song “Everytime” with an abstract dance sequence and slow-motion robberies. The soundtrack, which is dominated by Skrillex, is also great.
I saw “Spring Breakers” in a theater filled with a bunch of teenage girls who clearly didn’t like the movie and who clearly didn’t know about Gucci Mane (the phillistines!). Like “Drive,” this movie suffers from poor advertising that highlights the sex appeal. I can’t recommend it for everyone, but if you’re a fan of artistic movies you should check it out.

SCORE: 3 out of 5
SPOILER: Despite what the ads imply, you’re not going to see Selena Gomez naked. Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens are vaguely naked in one scene. Sorry, guys!

JOHN KESLER can be reached at arts@theaggie.org.



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