Director: Harmony Korine
Starring: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson
To be honest, I went into the theater having no clue what this film was going to offer me. I hadn’t seen any trailers on it, or heard anything about it really, except for the brief synopsis I read on it right before. Because of this, I left the theater at the end of the movie thinking to myself “What did I just watch?” Once I began really thinking about what was under the surface of this film though, I realized it was a truly clever movie whose intentions will sadly be lost on some people.
The cast is probably the number one thing that will confuse people with this movie and probably is what will fool the younger generation into thinking this is another party film. It is definitely not that, and is in fact a satire of those films. Four girls, including Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, are excited to leave their boring college life to take the trip of a lifetime to Florida on Spring Break. However, they realize they don’t have nearly enough money saved up and decide to rob a diner-type of establishment so that they can go. Once in Florida, they are having the time of their lives. Loud dance/house music, drugs, sex, nudity, and alcohol consume their lives. The girls confess that they truly feel alive here. They come into mix with Alien (James Franco), a gangster thug drug dealer/rapper type of deal and the girls’ Spring Break lifestyle is bumped up a notch.
Now, the editing and cinematography of this film is truly what made it come alive. Korine uses repetition of scenes, flash forwards, and beautiful lighting to convey an eerie tone to the movie that is supposed to make the viewer feel on-edge or unsettled. Everything about the girls’ Spring Break seems monotonous, and it’s supposed to feel that way. This lifestyle that they are looking at with rose colored glasses is really just repetitious and unchanging. At the same time, Korine’s use of foreshadowing shows us that things will not end well. The girls’ characters are underdeveloped, on purpose I believe. We have no back story to them (except a little bit of Gomez’s character) and little connection with them, they are just girls, and that is the point. Franco’s character is truly the centerpiece of the film; he is the epitome of this Spring Break utopia lifestyle. His goal in life is to be the biggest thug around with guns, money, and drugs, nothing else. His performance is one that disgusts us and opens our eyes to the reality of what these girls’ are heading toward.
My only problem with this film was the slightly outrageous story. I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it, but some parts near the end were pretty unrealistic and didn’t really do the job for me. However, this film truly embodied the Spring Break lifestyle that is meant to leave people questioning it. Is this routine truly what you want forever? Is this what makes you happy? This film went way beyond the “drinking and drugs are bad, y’all” notion and truly made us realize the reality of it.