Nicole C’s review published on Letterboxd:
This film made me feel so incredibly repulsed yet completely captivated by its beauty at the same time. I already know this will be a favourite film of 2013.
Harmony Korine directs this art-house take on a classic Spring Break film. The film is at times quite self-conscious but instead of being detrimental to the film (as with many new directors) it instead adds to the intensity of the story. Korine is confident and accomplished in his direction and this really shows. There is a lot of repetition and motif within this film that becomes tiresome but then quickly endearing as we are propelled through a rather fast paced plot. The visuals of this film are astounding as Korine switches between incredibly tactile images, to soft dream like techniques and then to grainy nightmarish sequences that really place the viewer in the craziness the film exhumes. All in all, this technique allows melancholy to go hand in hand with paranoia, fear, elation and other extremely heightened senses.
The music in this film is incredibly captivating, as are the performances. James Franco carries this film and many of the other characters are extremely forgettable, as with the culture of this holiday getaway tradition. This film is incredibly sexualised which alienates the viewer in such a way that it almost becomes unbearable, the viewer sees graphic sex scenes between all genders and Korine lingers enough to give it an uncomfortable edge before panning off and then returning for a full frontal assault on all the senses.
Although the story represents a rite of passage for young women, it exudes the violence of this experience to perfection. Not just the violence between characters but the ultra-objectification of women and their bodies, the very real rape culture, the transient relationships that seem so incredibly grounded at the time and the extreme risk taking nature of everyone involved. At any given point in this film you may expect someone to die or a serious incident to occur. This is a product of the alienation Korine builds – it keeps you on heightened edge. This film is utterly mesmerising from start to finish.