Wednesday, 12 February 2014

"Pretend like its a videogame" Spring Breakers review


The still from Spring Breakers above illustrates exactly how you feel this film is going to go. Indeed, the first five minutes is all dubstep, beer and boobs. There is more than enough leering close up shops for the girls crotches, just enough to make you start feeling that it wasn't going to end. By a lesser director, this would of just ended up slightly more violent version of American Pie. Thankfully, the sexuality at the beginning is just a ploy to lure you into the girls malicious desires.

Yes, despite the tempting idea to make this film about the men's effect on the girls, and even the lust of the camera on the girls, this is indeed a film about the girls effect on men and their own desires. These girls, including Disney actors Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and the directors wife Rachel Korine, do not seem extremely interested in men, despite finding themselves within the company of a lot of men. Their main interest is to leave their boring lives and schooling and to go to Florida on spring break (or as we call it in England, the Easter holidays). You find early on how far they'll go in order to get the money for this when two of them violently rob a late night diner, psyching themselves up by saying "pretend like its a videogame". We as an audience know what they are capable of. The character of Alien (James Franco), who bigs himself up as a rapper-gangster who psyches himself up by watching Scarface on repeat, believes he is in control of them. Its only time before he realises he is not.


Despite the premise to put the girls in control, the film is victim to its commercial trappings. Like Cosmopolis and The Bling Ring, the inclusion of former Mouseketeers Hudgens and Gomez reeks of faux-controversy. In including tween stars you are actively pursuing the type of people that can't go see this film (as its an 18), but you also attract people that wouldn't normally see a Harmony Korine film (Spring Breakers has made more money than all of Korines other films put together). Its a master stroke in marketing, but also cynical. While the girls performances are ok, the whole idea is to not forget that they are Mousketeers. Its an unspoken plot devise that these girls are meant to still be sweethearts of the Mickey Mouse Club.

These girls commit their most violent crimes with seemingly no consequence. When they are arrested at a party, they are bailed by the creepy Alien character, of whom only Hudgens has a problem with. Their perceived sisterhood is demolished when they willingly let Hudgens travel back home and never confront Alien about it. The film is meant to be Korine's tribute to the spring breaks he never had, as he was too busy skateboarding. He wanted to depict the hedonism he missed out on. For me, the hedonism seems contrived, the events a fantasy of someone hung up on the idea of YOLO. 

While this film has its merits, it succumbs too much the perception of hedonism that is quickly becoming boring. It's an idealised version of puerile attitudes about having a good time. I would of rather a film about skateboarding.

6/10

Layla

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