“Just pretend it’s a video game. Like you’re in a fucking movie.”
Spring Breakers took a bold approach to a regular girl-power, friendship movie and elevate it to a new territory. Move over Sisterhood of Travelling Pants, these bitches are fiercer than you. Four childhood friends: Brit (Ashley Benson), Cotty (Rachel Korine), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), and Faith (Selena Gomez), wanted to have a spring break vacation at St Petersburg, Florida. Alas they have not saved enough money for the trip. Three of them decided to take a shortcut and rob a restaurant to fund their trip instead. Things eventually grew more chaotic as the girls indulged on hedonistic youth culture of spring break and found themselves in the slammer and bailed out by a rapper-cum-drugs and arms-dealer Alien (James Franco).
Bikini-clad cheesecakes in bright neon colors evokes the very image of Spring Breaks rambunctious fun, as bodies upon bodies gyrated with thumping beats in the background. Korine employs several different camera to capture the dynamic of youth as they dwell into hedonistic indulgent: sex, drugs, and booze (even violencee?). I think the justaxposition of innocence and the wicked youth are very interesting, which was embodied from early scene in the virginal, devoted Faith in contrast to her friends. Like the way the girls and Alien singing Britney Spears’ Everytime (at this point i was afraid Zac Efron gonna show up somehow and have twirly duets with Hudgens) at the piano by the pool crossing to montages of their crimes. It give a mesmerizing picture how our world grow more vague as more lines got blurred out. One of my favorite was when Candy and Brit wiping out a whole gang with machine guns in their neon bikini as their phone conversation to their respective mothers about their self discoveries and new found introspection for a more positive attitude in the future become the background noise. *Sigh* It’s there’s a beautiful of allegory right there. The sound design of the film captivates me, as they often using the noise of a cocked gun, giving way for excitement and trepidation at the same time. This film is so mesmerizing it’s sick!
Director Harmony Korine created Spring Breakers as a way to make up for his own Spring Break which he never had (Source: Interview). Aside from its arresting visual, thrilling music, the film is well cast, which is probably why this film received quite a commercial success (US$ 31 million). Yes, probably one of its pulling factor is the magnitude of its young cast. But for the former disney pop princesses Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens as well as Ashley Benson (from ABC’s Pretty Little Liars), this is their way to liberate themselves from the good-girl mold that they seemed to be associated with. Along with Korine’s wife Rachel, these girls embodies the wicked ways where fun seems limitless and become more than neon bikini-clad spectacle.
One of the best thing of the film is none other than Mr. Franco himself *gasps, right?* After that dull performance in Oz (2013) it’s nice to finally see him showing his teeth here (albeit covered by that gansta’ metal grill). Portraying dreadlocked rapper, crime ring boss, Alien a.k.a Allen. This is Franco at his best as an artist. His repeated mantra ‘spring break, spring break’ was spellbinding and his character is so inviting.
“This is the fuckin’ American dream. This is my fuckin’ dream, y’all! All this shit! Look at my shit! I got… I got SHORTS! Every fuckin’ color. I got designer T-shirts! I got gold bullets. Motherfuckin’ VAM-pires. I got Scarface. On repeat. SCARFACE ON REPEAT. Constant, y’all! I got Escape! Calvin Klein Escape! Mix it up with Calvin Klein Be. Smell nice? I SMELL NICE! That ain’t a fuckin’ bed; that’s a fuckin’ art piece. My fuckin’ spaceship! U.S.S. Enterprise on this shit. I go to different planets on this motherfucker! Me and my fuckin’ Franklins here, we take off. TAKE OFF! Look at my shit. Look at my shit!”
The film was screened at the 69th Venice Film Festival 2012, where Harmony Korine received a Special Mention in Future Film Festival Digital Award. Spring Breakers is a film that celebrates and satirize spring break and youth culture. It provocative ans self indulgent. But if you look pass the initial shock of bacchanalian rave, you’ll see the film has more to offer than a skin-deep appeal. It’s spring break, bitch!
SPRING BREAKERS (2013)
GENRE Coming of Age, Drama, Comedy
DIRECTOR Harmony Korine| PRODUCER Charles-Marie Anthonioz, Jordan Gertner, Chris Hanley, David Zander | WRITER Harmony Korine | MUSIC Cliff Martinez, Skrillex | CINEMATOGRAPHER Benoît Debie | EDITOR Douglas Crise, Adam Robinson | STUDIO Anapurna Pictures, Muse Productions, Division Films | DISTRIBUTOR A24 Films (US), Vertigo Films (UK) | COUNTRY United States | BUDGET $5 million | RUNNING TIME 94 minutes | RATING R for strong sexual content, language, nudity, drug use and violence throughout | RELEASE September 4, 2012 (Venice), March 15, 2013 (US)
STARRING Selena Gomez, Vanesa Hudgens, James Franco, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Gucci Mane, Heather Morris