Spring Breakers (2012)
As always, Harmony Korine (Kids, Gummo) has a lot going for him. First of all he has an idea and a mission: Spring Breakers attacks on two fronts. One is an in-your-face, narcissism propaganda filled with semi-naked bodies and all kinds of shallow treats, designed to fascinate, allure and confuse. The other is an implicit condemnation of all the aforementioned stuff; Spring Breakers' protagonists are morally doomed antisocial vermins whose purpose never exceeds their roles in the film. And so the question to be asked is where does the one front end and the second begin? And additionally, what do we as viewers get out of it all? Satire for the sake of satire arguably is as uninteresting as violence for the sake of violence, and at times Spring Breakers treads both these paths. The film alternates between being clever and stupid, relevant and irrelevant, fascinating and downright loathsome, and the result is an uneven slight misfire in which the weaker points, such as the repetitive dialogue and insistent cutting, ultimately become noise instead of aphorisms and artistic effect, respectively. Korine may have a point, perhaps a brilliant one, in arguing that today's shallow, pop-culture-infested youth-generation have lost touch with life's real meaning (whatever that might be), but if so, his own film is part of that pop-culture and ends up biting its own tail. Kudos to the ever-impressive James Franco for an uncompromising performance.