7
Apr
2013
Brief: Spring Breakers
Spring Breakers
Jordan
The trouble with discussing a Harmony Korine movie is the level of intentionality of the enterprise. Spring Breakers is a vacuous movie, often little more than a series of montages of grinding human flesh and crinkled up currency, and the experience is ennervating after a while. I can't say I enjoyed Spring Breakers, but then I can't say I was meant to. In short bursts, Korine's panorama of parties, tracking shots of lowered inhibitions and Floridian bacchanalias capture his thematic intent well. This is a film about the drive to leave reality and the emotional and moral detachment that departure actually entails, and it works better as an exploration of those themes than I imagine it will ever get credit for. The movie is more interested in its surfaces than its depths, which actually adds to, rather than detracts from its bleakness. The ideas Korine is playing with are heady enough, but the presentation actually sacrifices artfulness to make his point clear (and in Harmony Korine films, "clear" should be read as "abundantly, in your face obvious"), and in the process, accomplishes the same detachment as the film's main characters. That makes Spring Breakers an easier film to appreciate than to enjoy, but it also makes the process of intellectualizing the whole thing far more problematic (again, its arguable that is the point).

I would also be remiss if I didn't give credit where its due. As flat and affectless as he was in Oz The Great and Powerful, James Franco is vibrant and compelling here. Call it the script, the direction, or the character he's asked to portray, but seeing these two performances in one weekend created a bit of whiplash for me. Franco singing Brittany Spears on the beach while surrounded by his masked cohorts was probably the highlight of the movie for me, the only time the film's hedonistic unreality fully connected for me. When Spring Breakers is a discomfiting memory of a Girls Gone Wild commercial taken to its nihilistic extreme, James Franco's "look at my shit" tirade will probably still have a prominent space in my cinematic consciousness. "Spring Break. Spriiing breeeeeeak. Spring break forevaaaaaaa..."


Read more of Jordan's Film Criticism here
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