"Spring Breakers" is a middle-class fantasy of white trash cultureby Tom Streithorst / April 4, 2013 / Leave a comment
Sordid and sexy, beautifully shot in candy-cane colours, with a pretty cast of ex-Disney starlets, Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers could be the date movie of the summer, depending on your date. It might transform the rest of your evening into a drug-fuelled sexual extravaganza. Just make sure neither you nor your sweetheart require character development or a believable plot.
Korine first came to prominence in 1995 with Kids, which he wrote for director Larry Clark while still a teenager. Its hero, a 16-year-old with AIDS, has a thing for deflowering virgins, thus giving them the disease the first time they have sex. Savaged by most as immoral, some critics saw it as an honest portrait of modern youth. This immoral-vs-honest debate continues to define the reaction to Korine’s films.
Two years after Kids, Korine made his directorial debut with Gummo. Called the “worst movie of the year” by the New York Times but lauded by Werner Herzog, Gummo was the movie that made Korine’s reputation. That was until his latest exploration of American white trash culture movie hit cinemas in the US two weeks ago. Spring Breakers is by far Harmony Korine’s most conventional film. It will be also be his first big commercial success. It has already made well over $10m, twice what it cost to produce. Gummo only made $116,000 in the theatres.
Using the visual language of Girls Gone Wild, gangster rap videos, and softcore lesbian porn, Spring Breakers tells the story of four college girls who want to go on vacation but don’t have the money. The solution: they steal a professor’s car and, brandishing a toy gun, brutally rob a drive-thru restaurant. Once in Florida, our heroes enjoy the traditional Spring Break activities of beer, bong hits, cocaine and cunnilingus. It is all so much fun they get arrested. Dragged to county lockup in their bikinis, they are told to pay a fine or spend three days in jail. Fortunately they are bailed out by Alien, a gangster/rapper/drug dealer, played by James Franco. Two of them find him a bit hardcore and head home but Franco falls in love with the other two, just as soon as they force him to fellate a loaded pistol.
Despite the new additions of mainstream actors and settings, Spring Breakers,…