Posted on 7/10/13 12:38 AM
Having never seen a film by Harmony Korine I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting myself into with Spring Breakers. I was given a vague idea from perusing various forums and doing a little research but in the end I was just going in prepared for something perverted, disturbing, and violent. I definitely got all I expected and more, including globs of some of the most fearless, insensitive, and obtuse social commentary I have ever seen displayed on a screen. My favorite aspect of Spring Breakers isn't anything specifically from within the film, but Korine's cognizance of a youthful generation wasting away their lives. The audience however, isn't. Most movie goers will see former mainstream Disney components Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens with James Franco in intently misleading advertisements celebrating sleazy pop culture and partying. Some will be uninformed parents (inept to the R rating) taking their teenage daughters to see the film or ignorantly grabbing it from a Redbox. The majority of these clueless and unwashed masses will blindly overindulge in the glamorization of partying, sex, drugs, and the overall "you only live once" mentality without realizing that they are the punch line to Spring Breakers while the actual film is the joke. Being in on the joke, grasping the social commentary awareness; that's my favorite part of the movie.
James Franco plays Alien, a financially rolling gangster involved in various illegal activities. Everything from his appearance (blinged out teeth, braids, clothes) to his thuggish voice that speaks in slang is again, one big parody and joke. He bails out 4 skimpily dressed beautiful college girls arrested for robbing a bank. Everything from the character interaction to the cinematography (often placing neon colors and shaky camera work at the forefront) slowly weaves into something dangerous, perverted, disturbing, and all out strange. The girls get lost into a fantasy filled with hallucinogenic beats, trance-like cinematography, Skrillex, and more. The juxtaposition of reality versus fantasy is abstractly and brilliantly fully realized in a polarizing climax that is both gleefully stupid and perfectly fitting. Spring Breakers occasionally contains some insufferable dialogue between its lead female protagonists and repetitive montages of partying. Truthfully it does get annoying but when Alien enters the film properly, dare I say it slowly unfolds into genius, relevant, poignant, and clear art.
It isn't just a meticulously crafted exploitation of youthful lust, innocence, and sleaziness driving the plot though. There are some truly wonderful scenes from standpoints of dialogue and cinematography gracing the scene. Whether it's Alien's aggressive rant about his materialist possessions or a robbery from the perspective of the getaway vehicles' driver Spring Breakers is consistently visually pleasing. Murderous montages are set to Britney Spears of all musicians as the movie also consistently works magic with its licensed soundtrack. Even James Franco sings creepily in the film. The four lead female protagonists' wardrobe must change in nearly every scene further driving home the more materialistic aspects of our generation's youthful society. Similar little touches exist throughout the film as thematically the movie begs for multiple viewings but not out of confusion, rather enjoyment. Spring Breakers solely exists to demean our youthful generation and rightfully so. In a perfect world it would be a wakeup call for ineptitude and ignorance. Instead it's a brilliant film where the masses just don't realize that they are the punch line to a joke. That is the only depressing aspect of this poignant modern masterpiece of filmmaking and social commentary.