Written and directed by Harmony Korine, Spring Breakers, features Brit, Candy, Cotty and Faith, who are all best friends and college girls looking for adventure away from their mundane and unadventurous hometown lifestyles. In an audacious attempt to try and fund their spring break vacation in Florida they get the money they need by doing an armed robbery on a local restaurant. Once in Florida, the party is in full swing, but with the alcohol flowing and the drugs plentiful, the girls find themselves being arrested and thrown in jail. However, a drug-dealing gangster called Alien, who promises to provide the girls with all the thrills and excitement they could ever have hoped for bails them out. After failing for Aliens bad boy charms they soon become caught up in his world of guns drugs and violence and it soon becomes unclear how far the girls are willing to go leading to a spring break they will never forget.
Spring Breakers is a gloriously unflinching and intoxicating glimpse into the exploration of today’s pop culture fuelled generations pursuit of their own seductive version of the American dream. With a cast that boasts Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine and James Franco and a marketing campaign that has seen them all in little more than their bikinis, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is going to be just another summer teen movies. This is a Harmony Korine movie, who is known for his unconventional, non-linear, weird and often outrageous but refreshing filmmaking (Kids 1995 & Gummo 1997), which ensures that there is more than what first meets the eye in Spring Breakers.
This is a film about chasing dreams, temptation, corruption and exploring morality. From when we are first introduced to the girls, they are obsessed with their own freedom and wanting a break from reality, which to a certain extent is what the whole spring break experience is all about.
The four girls Gomez, Hudgens, Benson and Korine most of which have a Disney background have been cast brilliantly. Not only is there appeal guaranteed to put a few more bums on seats but also their pop culture image is exactly the angle that Harmony Korine is aiming for with the good girls gone bad image. All of these girls, except for aptly named Faith, are seemingly without morals and are not particularly nice girls who constantly push the boundaries to see how far they could go. It is a compliment to the director that all the scenes just seemed fluid and natural which is something that she openly encourages.
However it is James Franco’s fantastic performance of his character ‘Alien’ who steals the show guaranteeing the film, as well as the character, future cult status. Not only does he have the bad boy charms to lure the girls into his dark underworld, but he also provides a number of great scenes. Who would have thought that one of the greatest scenes in cinema so far this year would feature a sunset, a piano and gold toothed cornrowed James Franco singing a rendition of Britney Spears’ ‘Everytime’ with three girls with machine guns wearing bikinis and ski masks.
Drenched in neon with a hypnotic trance like soundtrack, it almost has a dream like feel to it with a constant hallucinating effect of repetitious images and phrases, giving the viewer an assault on the senses and taste of the exploitive freedom that these girls are going through. This ensures that the film is something that you as a viewer actually experience similar to a fantasy or a nightmare. The camera work is seductive and almost perverse at times as it lingers ever so slightly too long on the young bikini clad girls bodies and also has a number of spliced archived images and footage from past spring breaks adding to the realism of the piece. Numerous references to pop culture including a number from Britney Spears, Scarface and the MTV generation further hit home the point that the film is trying to make.
Spring Breakers plays out like a mainstream art house film, which is destined to polarise audiences, due to the way it has been marketed, the topics that the films examines and the dream like deliberately ambiguous ending. The pulsing score that has so much energy to it composed by Cliff Martinez and Skrillex compliment the hypnotic neon visuals perfectly. A real exploitive look into how close sex, crime and violence can be to corrupting the thrill seeking youth of today. This is a unflinching and intoxicating glimpse into today’s pop culture fuelled generations pursuit of their own seductive version of the American dream and one of the years best films claiming all five stars, a must see.