Friday, March 22, 2013

Anything Goes and Does in 'Spring Breakers'

IN “Spring Breakers,” a college ritual is turned on its side, shaken, stomped to within an inch of its life and skinned alive.

Harmony Korine’s biggest and most mainstream film to date has as protagonists four college girls who arrive at spring break in St. Petersburg, Fla. in a very unconventional way: they rob and steal their way there. Increasingly reckless after their bodacious acts, the quartet then proceeds to one debauchery after the other. The film opens in the United States today.

Let’s be clear; HK is not judging. On the contrary, he is holding up a mirror and admiring the grotesque image. "Spring Breakers" represents his utopian view of a dystopian right of passage. Recall “Trash Humpers” and “Gummo.” His camera almost reverently captures the steady diet of the shocking and inappropriate. (See video above).

On a more global level, “Spring Breakers” is a metaphor. It represents the state of our United States at this cultural moment: soulless, selfish and sex-obssessed. These girls possess a colossal sense of entitlement.

Like the culture at-large, they want what they want and they want it NOW with little or no regard to how they get it. It is no wonder they took up stupid crime as a means to a stupider end. They don’t know the meaning of taking responsibility; it is doubtful that they can spell the word.

As if to pervert a perversion – to rub salt into a wound – HK cast as his dangerous little darlings three actresses who have a wholesome reputation: Selena Gomez (Faith), Vanessa Hudgens (Candy) and Ashley Benson (Brit). The character of Cotty is played by the director’s wife Rachel Korine. Rounding out the main cast is the almost unrecognizable James Franco as the lowlife bloodsucker, Alien.

Forewarning to the morally upright: “Spring Breakers” is not yours, your mother’s or your grandmother’s spring break film. It's actually much better; it is also much more disturbing.

Like our country, it is scary.

“Spring Breakers” is rated R. Visit to learn more about the film. Rx

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