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August 20, 2019 | Rome, Italy

Spring Breakers

By | 2018-03-21T18:54:22+02:00 April 8th, 2013|Reviews|

3

Date: 2013

Director: Harmony Korine

Starring: James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Gucci Mane, Heather Morris, Jeff Jarrett

With a troupe of Disney characters starring, Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” looks like another superficial teen comedy. In fact, it’s far more than that.

Four small-college girls (Vanessa Hudgens, Selina Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine, the director’s wife) plan the perfect spring break, deciding they’ll do anything to shake off the shackles of everyday life. The spring break, in all its titular wonder, permits American students to close their textbooks and go wild for a fortnight. It’s a frenzy of white sand, beer kegs and narcotics, all sprinkled with bright-eyed hopes of “finding yourself.”

To kick off their run of self-exploration, the hormonal girls rob a chicken store. Hidden under their vibrant headwear, they steal enough to take them to Florida and, needless to say, they’re tickled pink. From the robbery, they dive into a wonderland of depravity that pushes their lungs, livers and nostrils to the limits. They feel free, but nothing smashes that illusion like a visit from the police.

After a house party’s raided, they’re thrown into jail. With no money to pay their bail, drug-dealing hoodlum “Alien” (James Franco) offers to help out. He drafts them into gangland life and starts to build a strange relationship with the group. Alien’s gold-studded smile and limitless offer of riches grow into more forbidden fruit for the girls to reach for.

The cast does an amicable job, but the real star performer here is the director, Harmony Korine (he wrote the popular 1995 “Kids”). The plot simmers slowly enough to get into our heads and lead us through a delirium of sun, sex and sadism.

It’s a stylish and vervy satire of perverse U.S. youth, with vivid colors animating the story’s clever free-flow. Though it can feel at times like a lurid dream — and could have done with some editing — it’s mostly a joy, an estrogen-pumped black comedy that has the makings of a cult film for the ages.

About the Author:

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Alexander Penn is a born and bred Londoner currently finishing up his Newspaper Journalism Masters at City University. Spending his student days with East London Italians, he's become at one with their culture and fell in love with Rome when he first visited three years ago. He's a long-time lover of film, particularly the work of Sergio Leone, Federico Fellini and Giuseppe Tornatore. Alexander's had DVD reviews published in national UK paper, The Sun, and continues to ply his passion in his part-time job at an independent cinema.

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