wed 24/04/2024

DVD: Spring Breakers | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: Spring Breakers

DVD: Spring Breakers

Florida sleaze-fest adds up to more than just a collection of porno chic motifs

James Franco's skanky Alien fails to tame his wild cats

Wilfully perverse avant-hipster darling Harmony Korine has always teetered on the paper-thin border between vanguard edginess and trendy, emperor’s-new-clothes vapidity. His previous work, from the opening salvo of Kids, with Larry Clark, through various warped cinematic visions of a freakish American underclass, have set out to repel a wider audience. Spring Breakers, while equally determined to shock, is a change of pace.

It has a cast that includes High School Musical’s Vanessa Hudgens and Bieber/Disney pop princess Selena Gomez, as well as Hollywood heavyweight James Franco, and revels in non-stop Technicolor sunshine, booze and bouncing breasts - yet also maintains a seriously queasy art film darkness.

The plot revolves around four college buddies, wild cats Candy (Hudgens), Brittany (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Harmony’s wife, Rachel Korine) and their more sedate Christian pal Faith (Gomez). The former commit a robbery to fund a hedonistic spring break holiday in Florida. After being arrested at a druggy party they’re bailed by rapper/drug dealer Alien (James Franco) and descend into his twisted world.

That’s the plot but Spring Breakers is intended to be divisive. Is it simply a catalogue of voyeuristic excess or is it something more? On the one hand it’s an orgy of gratuitous tits’n’ass, endless dream-like, effects laden sequences of wet bikini’d bodies partying, cocaine snorted off browned flesh, thrusting crotches and raw, animalistic, sexualized behaviour, although the act itself is initially avoided. The crassness of it - and from it’s opening slow motion explosion of beer bongs and boobs, it’s epically crass - initially made me dismiss the film, but as it wore on the sheer excess becomes hypnotic. Korine’s vision has narcotic power and there are sequences where the sheer repetition is potent. Alien shows off his pad to the girls, the walls covered in weaponry, and runs down a shopping list of his touchstones, from Calvin Klein to Scarface, then moronically states over and over and over again, “Look at my shit!” Later on in the film the battle cry “Spring break forever!” is given similar power.

Eventually Alien and the girls’ unstoppable appetite for pleasure, sex and money, all of them repulsively self-entitled and amoral, seems to be a commentary on corrupted American values, on rampant consumerism. Pummelled with lines such as “seeing all this money makes my pussy wet", and equivalent action, the banality of their world starts to blast through. And despite the leering way Korine films his female stars, the women hold onto their power throughout – girl power - right to the violent climax.

Or Spring Breakers could just be an excuse to watch swimming pool sex and extraordinary surrealist Britney Spears sing-alongs at sunset, with interludes of wob-wob-wob Skrillex dubstep. Either way, it’s a film that's more than the sum of its parts, an essay in sleaze that runs to the mesmeric.

DVD extras include a 26-minute “Making of” documentary, a director’s commentary, the trailer and four mini-featurettes.

Watch the trailer for Spring Breakers overleaf

An orgy of gratuitous tits’n’ass, endless dream-like, effects laden sequences of wet bikini’d bodies partying

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters