Spring Breakers

9 Apr

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Four teenage girls want to go on their Spring Break holiday, but don’t have a whole lot of money to do it with. Realising that their lack of funds is a huge barrier to them going on their planned holiday, they hatch a plan for obtaining some. It’s not a conventional plan; they decide to rob a diner. Risky though it may be, the robbery is a success and the girls now have the funds to go on their break.

What follows is a lot of girls getting their boobs out, boys and girls drinking lots and taking drugs. To cut an extensive bit of the plot short, they’re having the kinds of fun that their parents probably wouldn’t approve of.

After one particularly wild night, the girls get arrested. Lacking the funds to bail themselves out, an unknown-to-them local gangster by the name of Alien (James Franco) comes to the rescue. One of the girls, the sensible one, finds it all a bit weird and decides to leave for home, leaving the other three girls with their new acquaintance. I’ll leave off detailing any more of the plot as I wouldn’t want to give you any spoilers.

The story telling of this film is interesting, and a little strange. Several times we lose seemingly key characters at important points in their story arc, and they never come back. It’s an intriguing decision and one that I couldn’t really begin to explain the point of.

I quite like the story craft on display here, although it is true that there are too many occasions when we’re just shown people partying, which, whilst stylish, doesn’t really move the story along. It usually feels as though it’s just padding the story out. However, there are some fairly unique ways of getting from A to B. When you’re not quite sure which way the relationship between the girls and the gangster is going to go, the gangster plays a Britney Spears song on a piano – it’s an odd but interesting choice and works in progressing the story.

Although it does sometimes miss the mark, credit is due for the experimental nature of the story telling, even if at times elements of the film seem unnecessary.

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The female characters in this film are a little nondescript in truth. Selena Gomez plays Faith, a devout Christian girl getting into trouble. She doesn’t do anything wrong with her part, but equally it doesn’t really require a lot of acting.

This isn’t the case for the other three girls, Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine). Whilst their parts don’t demand the most skilled acting ever, they are required to lose themselves on screen and really get into the film, which they all do. None of them are standout though. They all fulfill their roles of playing their parts well and looking bloody good in bikinis. There’s a lot to be said for that.

In terms of acting, in a film mostly populated by pretty ladies, the movie belongs to its leading man, James Franco. As his turn as The Wizard in Oz The Great and Powerful is still running at the cinemas, whilst his rapping gangster is on display here, Franco is not a man in danger of being type cast. He plays the character with menace and yet, when it comes to his relationship with the girls, you sense there is real heart and sentiment there. He has slightly misguided ways of expressing it, but he feels like a man with real emotions. It’s a strange film to see such a powerhouse performance in, but I’d go so far as to say Franco turns in one of my favourite performances of the year so far.

Overall, Spring Breakers is a film I enjoyed but I’m not sure I could really say it’s an above-average movie. There is plenty to take from it and for me, the second half of the film is stronger than the first. Stylistically it’s interesting and quite impressive, and James Franco is always mesmerising.

It’s hard to escape the feeling though that the film is trading too much on the idea that girls behaving badly is outrageous. The idea that girls drink, take drugs, swear and talk about sex isn’t actually that strange. Little of what’s on screen has an impact in terms of shock value, which I think it aims for, so in that sense it misses the mark. It does however do a good job of turning a very simple plot into a visual treat, and at times the film will induce some laughs. You might not need to rush to the cinema to see it, but I’d say it’s a film worth seeing if you get chance.

6/10

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5 Responses to “Spring Breakers”

  1. At The Back April 9, 2013 at 09:48 #

    I wondered if there was more of a social commentary to the film and the sort of people the next generation is creating. But on the other hand, it might just be an excuse to see some boobies. Well done for remaining the right side of seedy! It’s difficult with a film like this.

  2. CMrok93 April 10, 2013 at 14:17 #

    Good review. The result of this movie is something that’s equal parts enjoyable and uncomfortable. It is challenging, raw, gritty, sad and real, but worth a watch.

  3. The Vern August 6, 2013 at 11:42 #

    Great review. Im glad that you appreciated this one. I think Korine’s style put this one above other stories of debauchery like Project X for example. I found there to be a high level of social satire mixed in with a social satire

    • The Vern August 6, 2013 at 11:43 #

      sorry that was suppose to end with Social satire mixed in with exploitation. Epic fail on my part

      • I Liked That Film August 6, 2013 at 20:14 #

        Ha, I did wonder if I’d misread that at first. I’d be interested to this one again in the not too distant future to see what a re-watch does for it. It certainly has it’s moments; James Franco is outstanding

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