(US/France - 2013)
Written and directed by Harmony Korine. Cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Gucci Mane, Sidney Sewell, Thurman Sewell. (R, 94 mins)
After writing the script for Larry Clark's controversial KIDS (1995), Harmony Korine became an indie icon of sorts with his own directing efforts, ranging from the repugnant (GUMMO, TRASH HUMPERS) to the merely unwatchable (JULIEN DONKEY-BOY). While Korine has his defenders, I've never made it all the way through any of the films he's directed. The surprise with SPRING BREAKERS is not only that it's a Korine film in multiplexes nationwide, or that it has name actors, including the subversive casting of Disney good girls doing very bad things, but that it shows that Korine can indeed make a real movie once he decided to quit dicking around. It's by far his most commercial film yet, though still not for all tastes and certain to alienate most mainstream audiences, but it's filled with such dazzling visuals and garish colors (Korine is working with cinematographer Benoit Debie, who's shot films by Gaspar Noe, Fabrice du Welz, and Dario Argento), propelled by some memorably quotable dialogue, some very Steven Soderbergh-inspired editing, and a propulsive, constant score by Cliff Martinez (another Soderbergh fixture) and Skrillex, that it's an exhilirating, adrenalized, and very cinematic experience, miles ahead of anything Korine's done in the past or even seemed capable of doing. At 40, it's possible that Korine has finally grown up. SPRING BREAKERS is unexpectedly inspired, frequently brilliant, and one of the year's best films.
"Lights" is the perfect closing credits tune for this), SPRING BREAKERS demonstrates a startling maturity of Korine from self-indulgent enfant terrible to a genuinely gifted filmmaker. The year's still young, but this is my favorite 2013 film so far.