Spring Breakers opens with a slow-motion montage of young, scantily clad revelers, grinding, drinking in excess and giving the middle finger to the camera. That very much sets the tone of the film, which shows beauty and care in the shooting and composition but whose content is ugly and misanthropic.
Four college students (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) are desperate to add some excitement to their lives. They don’t have the money to pay for a trip to St. Petersburg, so they decide to rob a local Chicken Shack. Once they arrive, they party until they drop and are arrested by the police for drug possession. A local rapper named Alien (James Franco) pays their bail and provides them with the opportunity to sell drugs and play with his guns. Tensions with a rival drug dealer rise, culminating in a final showdown.
There was something promising about seeing what Harmony Korine (Kids, Gummo, Mister Lonely) could do with teenage icons, Franco and the underbelly culture of spring break. While the film is lensed nicely by Benoît Debie (Enter the Void) and scored moodily by Cliff Martinez (Drive), there’s very little substance to grasp onto. In large part, this stems from a completely unsympathetic cast of characters—they’re basically one-dimensional, unethical twits whose only goal in life is to party. For that reason, when the film’s tone shifts from a spring break dream/nightmare to a gang rival pic, it’s hard to muster much interest. Franco gives a fun performance but perhaps because he is so ubiquitous these days, it’s hard to see past the fact that you’re looking at Franco dressed up.
Ultimately, Korine’s latest proves a pointless trip through spring break hell.
Director: Harmony Korine
Writers: Harmony Korine
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, James Franco
Release Date: Mar. 22