‘Spring Breakers’ – Film Thoughts/Review

Harmony Korine’s ‘SPRING BREAKERS’ is arguably his most mainstream film to date. Telling the story of Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson, and Rachel Korine going off to Florida to celebrate Spring Break, but gets mixed up in the hybrid world of James Franco. After making a lot of crap (some of what haven’t seen – like ‘Trash Humpers’) comes probably one of his better films here, which evokes a weird mix of being a hallucinogenic pop video version of ‘Scarface’. Shot with arresting images which is like an avente-garde ‘Miami Vice’ with alluring electric blues, radioactive oranges, and florescent clothing comes something which certainly is style over content.    

This is evident in its characters. Gomez’s Faith (Gomez breaking her whole Disney image here) is basically the only character which seems to truly register, while her girlfriends (which you spend most of the time with), have less character then the bikini strings on their tops.  One of the most interesting instances  of style over content with character in this is James Franco’s Alien, who is a grotesque, corrupt, hip-hop caricature who only sense of character is the (what no doubt going to be something which breaks out over the internet) lines of watching ‘Scarface’ on ‘‘Re-Peat’’.  Regarding Franco’s performance, it is very much the best thing of this film which will help the cult like appeal its cries for. There is a surprising good soundtrack which comes with this look of this as well, with its synthesized 80’s teen movie sounds.

Regarding its core themes, I believe this film thinks it’s far more meaningful then what it really is (just like Korine’s ‘Kids’). At first I thought the extreme close up, and detail on the teenage bodies was a look into adolescence, the idea of having to grow up (something which ‘The Guardian’ put it as ‘’the camera glides up, down and around these women’s bodies like a giant tongue’’). But really nothing is built on that, or the religious undercurrents. Some supporters of the film have started arguments with the films biggest critics about if it’s sexist or feminist. Female empowerment supports see the women being antiheros, acting to their own power and agency, while the counter argument by the critics is its furthering the objectification and exploitation of attractive young women in popular media. Now I don’t get any of that as I didn’t ‘’read’’ the film in this light, as I didn’t think there was a strong case for either side. The social context I got from this is about the ’’American Dream’’ warped by self-gratification, something which is constantly reused throughout the film.   

Ultimately it will split sides, but it is something you might remember more than you think, especially with Franco playing Britney Spears on the piano and the appearance of Jeff Jarrett. This is certainly something which to some (strangely including me) will be seen as a cult midnight viewing film.

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