337 of 448 people found the following review helpful
This film has WAY more going on beneath its tacky exterior. It is a study in contract, and in challenging your expectations.,
This review is from: Spring Breakers (Amazon Video)
I was really, really surprised by this film. The preview does not really do it justice, as this is NOT a film about a white gangsta and a crew of Girls Gone Wild armed robbers. Yes, there is a white gangster, and there are sexy girls in bikinis robbing and shooting. But the film is not actually about those facts. The film is a study in CONTRAST (both visual and thematic), and in challenging your expectations. The filmmaker is really, really good at changing gears once you think you understand the characters' motivations, or where the plot is going. At first, Franco's "Alien" character seems like a con-man hustler, and you feel an almost paternal fear for the girls as he sucks them into his world, but this perspective does not last long, and soon you are starting to wonder if the girls are really just using him as he grows more emotionally attached to them. They turn the tables on his apparent supremacy in a scene involving his gun collection and his bedroom, and the sexual dynamic of the group shifts radically.
On that topic, there is surprisingly little sex in the film. The scenes of spring break debauchery leave the actual act to the imagination for the most part, and by the time sex actually occurs in the Franco-Girls gang, it is far more emotional than you have been expecting. The scene where Franco's "Alien" serenades the ladies with a Brittany Spears song SHOULD have been a point of ridicule, but as it was happening, all I could think was that this is EXACTLY how a character like Alien would express his genuine emotions.
The film is shockingly beautiful, visually. The moments of color contrast are perfect. At one point, Alien, in an electric green jacket stand opposite his ethnically black arch rival, decked out in vibrant red, and their color profiles (white+green vs jet-black+red) seem as opposite as their position on each other. The entire movie is a study in contrast. Innocent Faith (Selena Gomez) standing in a crowd of pool playing gangsters, ski masked girls in bikinis, the sub-tropical beauty of Tampa against its urban ghetto. Bad-looking Alien expressing (probably) real emotions compared to the girls with their secret motivations.
The film moves in a curve, with some elements repeating at the beginning and the end, and it has a dash of the Kirosawa 'Rashamon' technique of alternative perspectives (but never heavy handed). The entire film moves like its a 90-minute preview of a movie itself, and I don't recall being bored for a single minute.
As I said, this movie really, REALLY surprised me. I found it to be quite intelligent and artistic, and the film maker played with my emotions and expectations in a really interesting way. Would definitely watch it again and have been recommending it to all my friends who are into interesting cinema.
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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 7, 2014, 8:47:35 PM PST
Excellent review; you nailed it!
Posted on Feb 28, 2014, 1:08:04 AM PST
Kyle E Denton says:
I will admit that, the elements of film making were not entirely lopsided, and to the credit of what you say I believe most top critics would probably agree. But ironically in CONTRAST, this film loses a lot of regular viewers because of it's lack of originality and it's accurate predictability. You can have all the intelligent and artistic ideas behind a film, but when it plots Robbers + Girls in Bikini's + Spring Break + Gang trouble, it instantly loses it's appeal as a multiple movie attempt, and frankly when it's all bottled into a 90 minute projection it loses time to develop true depth and adds a level of desperate completion (of which may have been a decent contrasted point if it wasn't so short lived for the average persons interest).
Posted on Mar 5, 2014, 8:17:00 PM PST
PJ M says:
Here's the problem with this film -- and it is a film -- the people who pick it, probably do so because they want to see t&a, but to really appreciate the film on an intellectual level, like you do, you have to reject the the sexual appeal. Those who can accurately assess the quality of the viewing experience are more likely to view it as either a t&a flick, which is actually not quite sub-par, or a conflict between good and evil, green and red, masculine and feminine, etc, but those who don't see it as a stimulating conflict -- or don't realize it is going to be that -- are most-likely simply never to see it at all, so there you go.
Posted on Mar 7, 2014, 11:44:57 PM PST
Pen Name says:
It's not against the law to have sexual appeal AND be thought provoking. This movie provides a well-balanced tight rope act on that aspect. I thought it was a great film. It's not classic, but I could see myself popping this one in for sheer artistic and entertainment value. This movie proves that films can be both artistic AND entertaining. Unlike a lot of action flicks, you know there are more layers than what meets the eye.
Posted on Jun 8, 2014, 12:47:55 PM PDT
You should see Trash Humpers. It's really funny. You might like Julien Donkey-Boy more.
Posted on Jun 21, 2014, 11:21:14 AM PDT
Pen Name says:
really? Rashamon? Korine has some great movies under his belt, but this ain't even close.
Posted on Jul 19, 2014, 7:54:36 PM PDT
Turbo Ninja says:
Sickeningly well written review. Kudos.
Posted on Aug 7, 2014, 12:01:32 PM PDT
James C Webb says:
This is hands down one of the most underrated films in the last few years. I'm glad this review is hanging high.
Posted on Nov 16, 2014, 8:53:44 PM PST
This is one of my favorite films for exactly the reasons you have defined. Despite the affront of sexual debauchery in the opening scenes, I find it to be stunningly beautiful and complex below the surface. Thank you for the positive review.
Posted on Mar 30, 2015, 8:31:41 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Mar 30, 2015, 9:10:02 PM PDT]