Such a wonderful nightmare!8/10
I don't even know where to begin...
Harmony Korine is a true artist. That might be where to start, because everyone seems to diss this film and its director, and I'm here to disagree. He kept his style, and that's why I loved it! Most people who went to see this probably didn't know anything about him and also probably didn't care about who he was or what he had done before... The guy wrote the 1995 drama "Kids" directed by Larry Clark, which was the most controversial film of that year, dealing with hard and difficult themes to portrait on film (such as teenage, sex, drugs, street life etc...) and treating of problems people didn't want to face. But Larry Clark's documentary and realistic style made the movie look like an open critic of this generation to the world, and was therefore more accepted by critics. In 1997 Korine then directed the very strange independent film "Gummo", which didn't really have any scenario, just a presentation of a little town in Ohio and its very bizarre set of characters... But the movie was still pretty good because of its weird and sentimental atmosphere mixed with documentary-style filming. He also made other independent films, but all of them always stayed in the "weird" and "unknown" section of DVD libraries.
Here Korine has grown up and gained more experience with the years. This is by far his most accomplished work, but unfortunately by distributing this movie to a bigger audience, he encountered a lot of criticism and hate, just because more people saw and discovered his style. I am afraid that most people today just watch films to have something to watch. Movies nowadays are being more consumed and less actually watched and thought-over. The poster and the trailer for this film were a parody of these easy-selling films that the Hollywood industry makes every year, who don't have anything particularly original (and that's on ALL levels : directing, script, acting, score are all very similar to any other film made by the studio), but instead of seeing the parody of these posters with those good-looking girls, people took it seriously and thought this was just going to be another teen movie about spring break with some fancy action scenes and a seen-before plot. But no, this was something NOBODY could've see coming... or at last not general, ordinary, image-dose seeking spectator.
Now lets actually talk about the film, I kind of got lost here! First things first : the cinematography and the look of this film are amazing. Even if you didn't like it, you can't say that this wasn't beautifully shot and crafted. The camera work is probably the best I've seen in a long time, and the neon colors add a really good look, which contributes to the atmosphere the film is trying to have. Then, the acting is great. James Franco totally takes his character to another level, even thought Korine has done an amazing job with this one, as he often never disappoints when it comes to characters. The girls are good too, and I was really surprised by Selena Gomez. Now comes the score and music : noting to say, absolutely brilliant! All songs fit perfectly to the scenery of spring break, blending Skrillex with hardcore hip-hop but also getting on the sensitive and emotional side sometimes with a Britney Spears cover (seems like she actually made some good songs) an awesome atmospheric score by Cliff Martinez, as always (he did the score for Drive and Only God Forgives) and of course putting Ellie Goulding's Lights in there, just brilliant!
Now, some parts of this films aren't perfect, this isn't the best movie ever made or anything, but it is true work of art and not just a mix of drugs, sex, profanity and violence made by a crazy director in order to sell it. No, this is a very well-thought film, made by a director who actually has the balls to keep his own style no matter the audience is, and who uses sarcasm and reversed psychology in its storytelling in order to transmit its message, which (lets be honest) isn't the most common way to do things in modern American cinematographic industry...
To sum it up, this was an extremely underrated movie, mostly watched by a lot of dumb teens and young adults who thought it was just going to be another Hollywood style flick starring old Disney actresses who want to break their image, but instead of that they got a weird art-house film that didn't follow the "rules" of the filmmaking industry and therefore disappointed them because it wasn't particularly funny in the way that most films are, and it showed sex, drugs and violence in a real, strange, and (too) explicit way for them to enjoy. Hopefully there are still some real cinema lovers out there who recognize the true value of this film. To them I say keep good and interesting movies alive but watching them, and to Harmony Korine, I just want to say thank you and bravo, for having the guts to put out on screen such a wonderful nightmare!