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article imageReview: 'Spring Breakers' arouses a strong response Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Mar 28, 2013 in Entertainment
'Spring Breakers' is a psychedelic carousel of sex, drugs and violence in the name of sisterhood, escape and just having a good time.
Most people will either love or hate this movie. There is little room for grey as it boldly walks the line between brilliance and trash. The couple that left the screening after 30 minutes and those that stayed only to mock it afterwards probably fall into the latter category; but there are also those that praise its shiny aesthetic and style. As a result, Spring Breakers earns the title of most divisive film of the year.
Faith (Selena Gomez) is a good girl. Even while away at college, she calls her family regularly and attends bible study. Her best friends - Brit, Candy and Cotty (Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens and Rachel Korine, respectively) - on the other hand, are pure trouble. "They've got demon blood," claims one of Faith's church buddies. But that doesn't stop her from going with the girls to Miami for spring break. When their wild time lands them in jail, a local drug dealer named Alien (James Franco) bails them out. Falling in love with Alien's lifestyle, Brit's and Candy's darker sides begin to take hold.
There is no time continuity. The movie is delivered in chunks of related exposition. Each section is composed of looped shots and dialogue. (The script must have been a fraction of the typical length.) This is the key element that divides the audience.
On one hand, the repetition is increasingly annoying and disjointed. Listening to the same set of lines in the same order over and over again like a CD stuck on repeat is eventually akin to nails on a chalkboard. The body noticeably relaxes once it finally moves on to the next scene, only to repeat the irritation moments later. The visual repetition evokes less of a reaction, though it gets old pretty quickly as well.
Conversely, if separated from the dialogue, the exceedingly purposeful images are as mesmerizing as they are disorienting. Different angles and hues give the picture a fantasy vibe, which matches the girls' desire to escape from reality. In the case of the film's visual style, the repetition strengthens the impact of certain shots or its representation of the characters' emotions.
The story is intersected with comparably long montages of "spring break" – kegs, sand, beer funnels and a lot of naked breasts. Again, the same collection of shots are used throughout the movie without variation. These careless partyers are like a parade grinning fiends emphasizing the monstrous side of the characters.
The actresses take a lot of risks to play their roles with honesty. Gomez doesn't venture too far from her established identity, but Hudgens builds upon a filmography of risqué performances. From armed robbery to drunken make-out sessions, the girls really do it all in this picture. Their depiction of empowerment is relatively warped, but it still makes a statement.
Franco's Alien is as far from recognizable from his normal self as possible. Braids, an expensive grill and an uneducated droll make this self-proclaimed gangster a bit of a joke most of the time. He likes to flash his guns around, but under all the bling he's really just a "scaredy pants."
Whether you love it or hate it, it's going stay with you. "Spring break forever y'all."
Director: Harmony Korine
Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez and Ashley Benson
More about spring breakers, Movie, Review, James franco, Selena Gomez
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