Korine focuses on four young women who are left adrift in their school during the spring break – bored and without any money – they desperately want to join the frenzy in St. Petersburg Florida so decide to go “outlaw” and rob a diner - “Act like its a movie….” they easily convince themselves. We see how these co-eds relish their tough and rough behavior resulting in a successful haul of cash. It is intoxicating. The film becomes much more interesting when the young women are bailed out of jail - after having been arrested partying one-too-many times - by a self-proclaimed “bad boy,” a terrific James Franco who calls himself “Alien.” We first meet him at a beach event singing – a second-rate white rapper, complete with tattoos, cornrows, and silver tooth caps. I must say that every time Franco is on the screen he was mesmerizing – with his -gangsta-rap behavior – claiming to have been brought up in a black neighborhood and becoming best friends with the leader of the local gang who turns out later to be his nemesis and the impetus for a climactic denouement.
Franco with an innocence that is almost touching, feels a kinship with the 4 young women and takes them under his “wing”, bragging about his guns, bricks of dope, and his wardrobe…. bouncing around on a bed- arms held high - brandishing his weapons stash. Yes he is one crazy dude! Many of the scenes are set against the beautiful sunsets and light of the Florida landscape evincing a surreal quality which permeates the film; a repetitive use of language and vocals, flashbacks that are digitized and repeated over and over again to a rhythmic beat. Sounds are also violently sharp unnerving the audience with crackling outbursts.
I am still thinking about this movie – is it about the freedom to behave wildly, unmindful of consequences? Is it a satire on hedonistic youth heedlessly seeking adventure? Or is it about the love of money wrested from others without cost by jaded sociopaths? And lastly do we discover our "inner selves" through extreme acts of risk and violence?