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Spring Breakers - DVD Review

Spring Breakers

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

HARMONY Korine’s Spring Breakers is one of the coolest film’s of the year. But it’s also one of the most frustrating.

A flashy tale of good girls gone bad, it’s undoubtedly a wild ride and more often than not a complete blast. But there’s the suspicion throughout that it could have been even better. And the buck stops with the director.

Thus far, Korine is better known for his provocative indie flicks such as Mister Lonely and Trash Humpers, which are a million miles removed from the flashy tits and arse mainstream vibe Spring Breakers often outwardly exhibits.

Here, though, he endlessly flirts with cool but also seems reluctant to leave his indie roots. Thematically, too, the film seems caught in two minds between disposable popcorn fun with a knowing sense of it’s own absurdity and something more serious.

It works best when going more serious and tapping into the dark side of the American Dream, often ruthlessly exposing the folly of drug taking, binge drinking, gun envy and Gangsta cool.

The story is very slight. Tired of their mundane lives and poverty, three girls (Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) turn to robbery to fund their spring break excursion, taking a fourth friend (Selena Gomez) with them.

Once there they party hard and deliberate over the value of their newfound paradise until landing in jail and being bailed out by a drug dealer named Alien ( James Franco) who takes a liking to their bikini-clad charms.

Initially empowered by the possibilities offered by Alien, the girls soon find themselves in over their heads.

Opening with gratuitous shots of hedonistic revelry and a pumping soundtrack, Korine’s film feels urgent and lively from it’s very first frame and suggests a quick fix adrenaline shot of pure movie fun awaits.

But the director then pulls back and couches a lot of what follows in an almost dream-like, stoner state in which he repeats and overlaps scenes and often interrupts the film’s forward momentum.

This comes at the expense of really getting to know the characters and deprives the film of any real emotional involvement. It also threatens to become tiresome and slightly contemptuous towards its audience.

But whenever it seems Korine is letting his worst instincts get the better of him he pulls the film back and delivers a doozy of a scene.

Franco, too, creates one of the most memorable characters of his career and helps in no small part to keep things on track once he becomes involved.

It’s during his moments that the film excels, combining playfully seductive sequences (singing Britney around a pool-side piano) with something more edgy and altogether dangerous. The film’s climax is particularly memorable.

For all of its failings, Spring Breakers does eventually get it’s shit together and can be forgiven for some of it’s more Korine-like indulgences. But just imagine what a Danny Boyle or a Point Break era Kathryn Bigelow could have done with it!

Certificate: 18
Running time: 95mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: August 12, 2013