Sunday, March 31, 2013


Writer/Director Harmony Korine’s new film, Spring Breakers is a complex, strange, frightening, funny, and bizarre take (off?) on the annual come-to-Florida bacchanal when college and university students participate in the ritual “spring break” blast. This is spring break in overdrive – almost to the point where it gets boring seeing the repeated images of beach scenes and partying filled with intertwining bodies, guzzling booze, drugs in all forms,  but no matter  – this is “freedom” from the ennui of school and classes. This is the place that young kids can “find themselves.” The cinematography with its over-saturated color reflects the heightened craziness and excitement in the air and inside these kids’ heads.

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?


  1. thank you for this review, i like what you have to say and because of that i will go see it! i have one question, can i bring my 12 year-old who is used to his artist-parents taking him to edgy everything? Or is it too much in your opinion for that? Just saw Oz, and would love to see Franco in this role, since its about the opposite of Oz!

  2. Franco was quite good as a "bad" boy....No to son - too young even with artist-parents....