Sociopathic Pop Misfits – A Film Review of ‘Spring Breakers’

Spring Breakers poster by Harmony Korine

Spring Breakers film by Harmony Korine

What do you get when you mix teenage starlets and pop sensations with America’s most enigmatic independent filmmaker? The answer is Spring Breakers, the neon-blazing, experiential, psychedelic pastiche that is Harmony Korine’s most commercially successful film yet. Comprised as a symphony of character, narrative, and social-political layers, Spring Breakers is a maze through an ultra-fun then frenzied trip for four freshmen that will stop at nothing to get to Daytona Beach in time for spring break.

Faith (Selena Gomez), Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) each represent a different level of temptation that moves deeper and into more dangerous territory from one to the next. Faith, the most innocent and naïve, wanting simply to party with her friends and escape reality in Daytona, is confronted with the jarring experience of being thrown in jail when the foursome are caught with drugs. Ready to bail them out is Alien, an almost unrecognizable James Franco whose creepy demeanour around the girls is a red flag for Faith to bail on her dream vacation. In Spring Breakers, each girl get lost in their own funnel of danger and limitation. At that point, pegging down the villain becomes as inconsequential as the initial reason of why they came to Daytona in the first place.

Spring Breakers film still by Harmony Korine

Spring Breakers is somewhere between exactly what you think it is and no where near what you thought it would be like. The use of hyper-stylized bright colors and contrast lighting brings a feeling of surrealism to the film, yet it is also exists in a world that is grim, violent and deadly. If you don’t trust Harmony Korine, Spring Breakers may sound like the epicentre of cheesy. But chances are, if you thirst for the Korine touch of ambiguous weirdness (which has previously included vignettes of geriatric trash fornication and skydiving nuns) you’ll understand his vision for Spring Breakers.  As is best with any Korine film, the only expectation worth carrying to the cinema is that of mind-expanding freedom.

Christina Stimpson

March 28, 2013 / By

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