Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pretty Little Gangsters

Spring Breakers       Final Cut Score: 90%


I'll cede this off the top: Spring Breakers' script is straight-up asininity. Four college girls (fine, three of the four) rob a restaurant to finance their spring break siesta in St. Pete.

Hedonism ensues as the ladies (ex-Mouse Housers Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens teamed with Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine) get busted for drugs and end up in the possession of a cornrow-wearing, dollar sign-tatted, Z28 t-top-driving, wannabe rapper (James Franco) who funds his gangster life by dealing dope out of his Gulf-front, stuck-in-the-80s, ranch-styled crib.

Ridiculous, right? Unquestioned. So how does Spring Breakers manage to transcend its half-sketched, shell-of-a script? Aesthetics, glorious aesthetics.

And I'm not talking about the endless sea of skimpily-dressed coeds.

Oddball writer/director Harmony Korine (Gummo) goes all Nicolas Winding Refn on the creation – it's sensationally stylized. Call it: Drive Sunshine State-style, hoisted sky-high by Cliff Martinez's hallucinatory hypnotica.

Korine kills it with a Britney Spears-backed montage of the pretty little gangsters protecting Franco's drug-trafficking turf. Gun-toting teens clad in string bikinis passing for high art? Indubitably.

It's edgy, gritty, seedy – Spring Breakers is fantastically filthy. Typically it's just the cinema's seats that leave you in need of a bath.

Franco erases the rancid residue left behind by his disinterested take on Oz with a wholly-submerged-in-slime performance as the grill-sporting sleazeball. How convincing is he? My wife leaned over midway and asked who in the heck dude was.

Is the film exploitative? While Korine does the wink-and-nod routine during the Skrillex-beats-boosted scenes of on-the-sand debauchery, watching the quartet walk on their hands, bare legs in the air on multiple occasions is titillation for titillation's sake.

The finale is utterly outlandish. Best of luck arguing against it being a dream sequence given the carnage carried out by a pair of pistol-wielding girls with zero training firing the things. Though I fear there are far too many adolescents who share the same kind of destructive, soulless dream.