There is a quality in surreal crime movies that pops up once in a while that is rather surreal. The first films that come to mind are usually the works of Tarantino, especially True Romance, but I also think of films like Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. There is a strange fantasy land feel to them, an alternate reality. In Harmony Korine’s new film, Spring Breakers, I was reminded of that same quality, but this one certainly had its ups and downs.
Four college friends, Faith (Selena Gomez), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine) and Brit (Ashley Benson) are bored and want desperately to go on spring break vacation, but together they have only saved $300 all year, not nearly enough for the escape of their dreams. Candy, Cotty and Brit decide to rob a local restaurant to get the funds and get away with it, prompting the four girls to head out to Florida and start their partying. After getting arrested at an out of control party, the girls are bailed out by a drug dealer named Alien (James Franco), who takes them into his care. While in Alien’s world of drugs, guns and a violent underworld, the girls get in deep and not all of them are looking for a way out.
Spring Breakers is a very strange and hypnotic film. From the first scenes, we see that this group of girls may not be comprised totally of balanced individuals. Candy and Brit seem to be the wildest of the bunch and seem to be total pros at making every bad decision possible. Cotty and Faith are slightly more cautious, but when Candy and Brit get in deep with Alien, all bets are off and their true colors start to bleed out. All the girls are very good here, especially Hudgens and Gomez trading their squeaky clean Disney images for characters that do drugs, use firearms and participate in threesomes. The story might have held my attention a little more if it opted for a less repetitive style, with some scenes feeling like they went on forever. But none of these things are the reason to check out Spring Breakers. The best thing about the film by far is James Franco’s Alien. I have been very hit and miss with Franco in the past, but he fully commits to the character of Alien and makes him one of the more memorable villains in recent memory. He is a smooth talking criminal that is full of himself and thinks he is indestructible, but he is thrown for a loop after encountering these seemingly innocent girls who turn out to have a very powerful effect on him. Spring Breakers is not perfect, maybe not even outstanding, but it is worth the time investment for the things it does have going for it, especially Franco.
The Blu-ray from VVS is a very nice looking disc. The film is full of night shots but is also infused with tons of neon and bright lights, but it is all rendered perfectly here with bold colors, exceptional clarity and excellent detail. The soundtrack is clear and in many parts very encompassing and bombastic. An excellent transfer of a very unique film.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.