Wednesday, July 17, 2013
by: Ryan Grudinski
I could tell while watching this one just why it's been quite divisive. I will say right up front that after my viewing experience, I fall very solidly on the side of people who love this film. I think a big issue is what people's expectations were when watching this. I think people wanted a fun tale about 4 girls going on spring break and getting into some fun shenanigans. Know why I think people expected that? Because that's how the studio marketed the movie before it came out. It, in fact, is much darker than that. The film actually serves as a commentary of the way certain actions, lifestyles, and choices are glorified and the very real consequences that should come along with those actions, lifestyles, and choices. Harmony Korine (Writer of "Kids") has dabbled in this type of subject his whole career, starting with "Kids" in 1995. Kids was a very misunderstood film as well, because it didn't come right out and spell out the message, while it was absolutely there, there was no narrator there to wrap up the story, and tell everyone what the lessons were to be learned. The audience is expected to learn said lessons on their own based on the story they just witnessed. And the lesson is absolutely there, and it's not even really that subtle, you just need to have your eyes open enough to see it. All that being said, if this type of movie isn't your bag, then it's probably not going to be as enjoyable for you, even if you do get it. Finally, I should definitely mention James Franco's portrayal of what could very well be one of the best performances of his career. Franco plays "Alien" (real name "Al," but he's "not from this planet" so there you go...) This performance is mesmerizing. He plays to perfection the scumbag trailer trash turned rapper idiotic dirt-bag that we can all picture in our heads. It must be seen to be believed, but this performance should be talked about among Franco's other great outings. Like I said, this one may not be for everyone, but it's not a bad film by any means, just different.
Plot: *** 1/2
Writing: *** 1/2
Technical: The film captures the mood it wishes to capture very well, At the same time it manages to make the viewer feel dirty for being a part of what is going on. That's a good thing. There is also a great color scheme throughout, which is typically a very dark and dreary shot with blindingly bright bikinis. Great visual style throughout.
X-Factors: Franco's performance, the underlying themes of the film, and the snazzy look, and the overall experience
Will This Movie end up in my collection? Yes.