|SHADOWS ON THE WALL | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK|
dir-scr Harmony Korine
prd Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Jordan Gertner, Chris Hanley, David Zander
with James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Heather Morris, Gucci Mane, Emma Holzer, Thurman Sewell, Sidney Sewell, Ash Lendzion, Cait Taylor
release US 15.Mar.13, UK 5.Apr.13
Spring break forever! Franco (above); Gomez, Benson, Korine and Hudgens (below)
VENICE FILM FEST
TORONTO FILM FEST
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Korine comes close to telling a coherent story as this black comedy shifts into a grim thriller, but the plot runs out of steam about two-thirds of the way in. Even so, the film is strikingly well-shot and edited, and Franco creates one of the most memorable screen characters in years.
University students Faith, Candy, Brit and Cotty (Gomez, Hudgens, Benson and Korine) are desperate to have a spring break in Florida. But they've spent all their cash on drugs. So they rob a restaurant and head to the beach, where they indulge in a series of wild parties. With her religious beliefs, Faith finds this a strain, especially when they're caught in a police raid and have to be bailed out by a sleazy rapper-gangster who calls himself Alien (Franco) and enlists them in a war with his more dangerous rival (Mane).
The first act explores drugs and physicality with Benoit Debie's sumptuously colourful cinematography and a visceral score by Skrillex and Cliff Martinez. The film has a lush, tactile quality that's like eye candy in more ways than the obvious one: the girls never wear more than a bikini, often just half of one, and the film seems to hint that they far outnumber the boys, who pathetically hunt for sex but only rarely find it.
Then Alien shifts everything up a gear. Franco bursts from the screen with outward bravado that includes metal teeth, ridiculous dreadlocks and cheap-looking tattoos, all of which confirm that Alien is just play-acting in the big leagues. He may have guns, money, drugs and women, but he hasn't a clue what to do with any of them. And Franco is so funny that we can't help but love him, especially after he plays a Britney Spears ballad on his poolside grand-piano.
The problem is that once Alien turns up, Korine lets everything else drift into limbo, as wacky "spring break forever!" montages are interspersed with repetitive scenes that spin in circles. This reminds us that we're not watching a mainstream black comedy after all: Korine is an arthouse filmmaker. And the final sequence is both brutally violent and eerily surreal, like the climactic scene from Al Pacino's Scarface as reinterpreted by, well, Harmony Korine.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
|Still waiting for your comments ... don't be shy.|
© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
HOME | REVIEWS | NEWS | FESTIVAL | AWARDS | Q&A | ABOUT | TALKBACK