Harmony Korine’s feature films rarely, if ever, thrive on the easiness of their watchability. With a heavy focus on the corrupted and dismantling decisions made by an ensemble of characters – usually young individuals – Korine consistently raises the bar when it comes to shocking realism and edginess. He broke onto the scene at the age of nineteen when he wrote the script for Larry Clark’s Kids, a crippling snapshot of lust and violence within a group of skateboarding friends and STD fearing girls who collide when it turns out that one womanizing hoodlum’s philosophy behind sleeping with virgins is tossed aside by a horrifying truth. Though Clark and Korine have collaborated since this 1995 cult classic – Korine co-wrote Clark’s Ken Park which is one of the hardest films to find due to its massive censorship – Korine has also migrated into directing his own features, videos, and shorts. Of his features, both Gummo and Trashhumpers are already standing as cult classics, much in the vein of Kids, and his upcoming piece of teenage destruction, Spring Breakers, is gearing up to be more of the same…and that’s a good thing. Below, you’ll find the trailer for Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, which stars James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, and Gucci Mane (that’s right, the Gucci Mane). After being busted for robbing a restaurant, which would have funded these teenage girls’ spring break vacation, an arms and drugs dealer named Alien bails them out in exchange for some dirty work.
Why I’m Excited:
1) The Harmony Korine Reaction: While fans of Korine and people that are familiar with his work are assuredly excited to see his newest feature, I’m most excited to hear what people who are going into this movie with little to no preface of Korine’s filmography are going to say. Granted, the darkness and tragic details of Kids has grown in the nearly twenty years since its initial release, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Spring Breakers turns out to be something completely different than what viewers are expecting. Kids was an ultra-real and stark outline of some truly lost teenagers from the very start and progressed into something far more horrifying. From most of the quick cuts we see in this first look of Spring Breakers, this could very well be the case yet again. The rating note (R for: strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use and violence throughout) is enough to suggest as much, but I’m sure Korine is going to hit us with some surprises that no one sees coming. Spring Break is about to get dirty!
2) Celebrity Image Inversion: I continue to rave about Leonardo DiCaprio’s image inversion for his portrayal of Calvin Candie in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and how he should have been recognized for literally turning what the public has come to know as ‘DiCaprio the actor’ and deconstructing it piece by piece as the gleefully evil plantation owner. Spring Breakers might have been tailor-made by Korine to do exactly the same thing to its ensemble cast. James Franco, of Spiderman and Pineapple Express fame, a dear friend of the Apatow crew, alumnus of Freaks & Geeks, former Oscar host and Oscar-nominated actor (127 Actors) looks to be in full commitment mode for what could be an entertaining, scene-stealing, and pretty daring performance as the contraband dealer, Alien. With grilled teeth, knotted cornrows, dreadlocks, and a hokey accent, Franco’s take on Riff Raff could prove his character actor status right here. Alongside him are two actresses well known for their Mauschwitz (a.k.a. Disney Channel) contributions, Vanessa Hudgens and Selena Gomez. Fans of the High School Musical franchise and/or Wizards of Waverly Place may be shocked to see these stars in tight bikinis wasted on the beach, touting heavy duty firearms, and (most likely) making out with James Franco and each other. Pretty Little Liars’ Ashley Benson is in the same boat, while Rachel Korine – wife of Harmony – may get her big break here as the final piece of the youthful quartet destined for destruction. On the periphery is rapper Gucci Mane, who continues the theory that every pop culture icon must appear in a movie at some point. In his film debut, who knows what to expect! That makes it all the more fun and all the more insane.
3) Speaking of insanity…this is HARMONY KORINE: Briefly, lets jump back to Mr. Korine. This guy makes films that are absolutely nuts and this one is probably going to be his most insane one yet. Flashy, stylized, doused in intoxicating shots of sunrises, the beach, and…intoxicants. Slow motion, dubstep, swirling and tilting and upside down camera shots, neon filters, etc. Korine is going balls to the walls on this one and I’m hoping for the craziest spring break I can experience vicariously. It has the looks of a fever dream, like if the entirety of The Killers’ Hot Fuss came to life (an album my roommate and I agree has the visual picture of a pansexual nightmare embedded in its lyrics). He’s set the stage, here’s to hoping he follows through. I’m guessing he will (p.s. Early reviews have been mostly positive, even when mixed. Breakers currently holds a pre-release score of 64% on rottentomatoes).
4) The Music: A little additive piece of technical merit that has got me, personally, super stoked. Leaping back over to Gucci (GUCCI!) Mane being a part of this production, he’s also got contribution credits for the soundtrack – the least he could do for getting a role…acting…in a movie…right? We’ve also got Skrillex working on original pieces of music for Korine’s lastest, which should have become expectant once the wobble dropped halfway into the above trailer. But, what’s truly exciting is the man Korine has tapped to score the rest of the film: Cliff Martinez, a go-to composer for the master of cinematic diversity, Steven Soderbergh, as well as the composer for Joe Carnahan’s gritty and underrated Narc, Nicholas Jarecki’s awesome Arbitrage, and, the crème de la crème, last fall’s Drive. Need I say more? Drive’s soundtrack is a synthesized, jarring, atmospheric, and retro piece of work that, arguably, made Drive the arthouse masterwork that it is, singlehandedly. Martinez is an up-and-coming headliner for movie soundtracks, and in the trailer he actually gets name dropped alongside both Skrillex and Gucci Mane, both being far more recognizable by the average person. Korine must believe that Martinez is on the rise and that his creativity is ideal for the tone he is looking to create in this film. The music is going to be a massive part of Spring Breakers and is looking to be the must-have original soundtrack of 2013.
How wild is spring break going to get? My mind is playing hop-scotch jumping to and from all the different aspects that have me pumped for Harmony Korine’s new film.
Spring Breakers will be released wide on March 22, 2013.
Article by Mike Murphy