Movie Review: Spring Breakers (2012)

Comedy, Crime, Movie Reviews

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Harmony Korine is a very polarizing filmmaker and Spring Breakers is a divisive movie, despite being his most commercially successful and mainstream appealing movie to date; it’s also his best movie.  While not shying away from ogling the female leads bikini clad bodies with the camera like a peeping perv and exploiting their curves for the millions of dollars that they’re worth, Korine has empowered his characters to create the ultimate 21st century female anti-hero movie while also satirizing a quasi-religious American event; Spring Break has become such a cultural phenomenal that it’s exceeded its geographical borders to become known among all continents and cultures.  Spring Breakers is an exaggerated looking glass of America’s youths favourite annual past time; presented like a surreal fever dream, Korine both mocks and celebrates it in a manner only he could envision.

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Disney starlets have to grow up some time, but very few could have imagined this; marketed as a ”party” movie, it turns out to very misleading. Trailers and posters would lead you to believe that it was all beaches, bosoms, booty and Skrillex bass, and while it is a lot of the time, it’s only the surface.  The story revolves around 4 girls who rob a store to fund their cocaine and alcohol fueled getaway when during a raucous party they get arrested and bailed out by the gangsta rapper Alien (James Franco); what ensues afterwards is a crime spree as they plot the murder of Alien’s ex-home/now nemesis Archie (Gucci Mane).

Spring Breakers is viewed by some as a work of art, and by others as a trashy piece of pulp exploitation.  It’s a little of both: while not promoting rap culture like many of its critics have said about it, Korine has no qualms about flaunting the assets of his young starlets while making them act like teases?  Is it a declaration of female empowerment?  I believe so, as the four leads are very much dictated by their own motivations and remain firmly in control throughout the movie; male characters eat out of their hands and fall under the spells prepared to be crushed like ants.  There’s a scene where James Franco’s character deep throats a handgun at the behest of 2 of the girls; if that isn’t a symbol for matriarchal power I don’t know what is.

The ritual of Spring Break itself is completely mocked; the girls talk about it like it’s some sort of spiritual awakening that’s made them new women while Alien preaches how its the very definition of a sole reason to exist; the exaggerated presentation of the claims is a big joke, and no doubt intended to poke fun at the people the movie was falsely marketed to target.

Visually, the best way to describe it is hypnotic; at times it feels like you’re in a state of trance just watching it.  Vibrant colours, repeated dialogue, slow motion frames and surreal imagery give it a dreamlike quality.  Watching 2 young actresses wearing bikinis and pink balaclavas as they dance with guns to the tune of, ”Everytime” by Britney Spears is quite mesmeric; it also makes for one of the greatest segments in the history of cinema.

Spring Breakers is a movie a lot of people will continue to either love or hate for the rest of time; for that reason alone I rank it as a masterpiece that has to be viewed at least once.  10/10

Written & Directed By:

Harmony Korine

Starring:

Selena Gomez, James Franco, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson

Genre:

Crime, Comedy

Running Time:

94 mins

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