‘Spring Breakers’ review: A dreamscape of chaos

The girls of "Spring Breakers" take partying to a whole new level. (Photo credit: Annapurna Pictures)

The girls of “Spring Breakers” take partying to a whole new level. (Photo credit: Annapurna Pictures)

‘Spring Breakers’ engrossing and stylistic

Putting morality, consequence and reality aside, “Spring Breakers” is completely mesmerizing and fascinating, ensnaring you in its dreamlike (or drug-induced, your choice) story.

Directed by Harmony Korine, “Spring Breakers” tells the tale of four young women and their eye-popping spring break through a weaving, fluid motion. The details, the chaos, the madness: it just flows around you, seeking to explain why it is four college-going women would decide to commit armed robbery and then become tangled up in a bad situation that goes south shockingly fast.


Well, at least the armed robbery can be explained fairly easily, even if the logic isn’t quite coherent. Our wannabe-rock stars (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) are stuck in their dorms with no way of paying for spring break in Tampa. Hence the armed, incredibly disturbed robbery. I mean, how else are you going to party if you don’t have any money?

Drenched in sun-bleached sepias and dark-red splashes (thanks to cinematographer Benoit Debie), the plot hits its beginning ascent as the girls abandon what social norms may have been left and party in a way that makes you think it’s almost cathartic to the soul. The release — from society, from themselves, from reality — is central to the storyline’s divergent and multi-faceted plot structure. Or maybe it’s not. It’s difficult to gauge just what is going on. From the repeating voiceovers to the arresting but insane performance by James Franco as a local drug dealer named Alien, the story just runs around like, well… a teenager on spring break.

That bender of a time comes to a slight halt when the girls are arrested. Though that doesn’t stop them for long, as our heroines are bailed out by Alien, the drug dealer with an obscene amount of cash and weaponry and life goals that match his ego.

Speaking of Alien, his ambition — and the resulting turf war — results in one of the film’s few dim spots. Director Korine had nailed it right on the head with having Franco basically create a hippy gang-banger, but that mood is lost when people start dying.

Either way, that’s of little consequence. The movie is rich in detail and provocation. It forces you to confront societal questions regarding decaying standards and the ever-increasing importance attached to material and wealth. It’s dark, for sure, but it’ll be the shades of gray that will have you squirming.

And in the end, you’ll be asking yourself if you can support characters who embody a mentality where even death can provide a dream-like release. But then again, it is spring break. You’re not doing it right if you don’t let loose a little, right?

Four sun-drenched stars out of five.

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