TIFF 2012: Spring Breakers (Harmony Korine, USA)

Harmony Korine has not-so-secretly belonged to a cult sect of indie filmmakers for quite some time now, churning out pervasive, morally questionable hits like Julien Donkey-Boy and Gummo as his fan base remained a constant. With Spring Breakers, Korine has so audaciously raised the bar for both himself and the festival circuit that it’s hard to literally liken it to anything else, and I mean that as a compliment.

For starters, this star-clad, breast and booze-filled satirical Spring Break anthem features a cast of over-the-top eccentrics, complete with titular group of party animal females and self-proclaimed gangster, Alien (James Franco). Recruiting the girls as viable parts of his posse after he bails them out of jail, everything about Spring Breakers quickly turns into a balls-out, visually compelling and flat-out remarkable abstract effort.

A lush, beautifully integrated Floridian color palette and bang-up photography permeate Korine’s penchants for audible repetition, looping bits of dialogue or incorporating musical numbers into the film’s frequently captivating if increasingly ludicrous goings-on. A montage detailing the run-and-gun thug-esque lifestyle the remainder of the girls begin to adhere to is a glaring high point among Franco’s darkly hilarious antics corresponding with what could easily be his best turn ever.

Spring Breakers, for all intents and purposes, is the work of a madman through and through. Korine’s struck gold here with this radically subversive cautionary-cum-adult fairy tale, and he’s sure to please his followers and undoubtedly garner some new ones. It’s hands-down the best looking film you’ll see all year, aided substantially by Franco, a bombastic dubstep-laden score and unsubtle editing that becomes a welcome constant throughout, and I promise there isn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell you can fully prepare yourselves for an experience like this.

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