Spring Breakers (2013)

Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Bensen and Rachel Korine in Spring Breakers (2013)

Spring Breakers is a fluorescent dream, an elusive ode to excess. Korine’s film is gorgeously ugly, illuminating the worst of human behaviour in swathes of hypercolour; neon bikinis pulsing in streaky, candy-coloured lights.

Spring break is an escape, an emblem of the modern American dream – not to work hard for success, but the aspiration to do nothing and have everything. The first act of the film regularly cuts between a shiny MTV version of spring break; grubby, out-of-focus camcorder footage, and the garish orange and pinks of reality as perceived by four college girls indulging their desires.

Maybe reality is the wrong word. Spring Breakers isn’t interested in reality, instead presenting the American dream as an actual dream, hazy and insubstantial. The film is choppily edited, flitting between now and then, repeating snippets of dialogue as its characters ruminate on unfulfilled aspirations (“I just wanna do better”) or escapism, a strongly-held desire to hold back the floodgates of the real world. Characters do escape to normality – one way or the other – but the film leaves them behind: spring break forever.

Korine takes what could have been trashy – spring break, sex, drugs, Skrillex soundtrack – and spins it into something luminously captivating.

Rating: 190/200

11 comments

  1. davecrewe

    My partner and I saw this at a fairly small cinema in Portside, with only one other person in the audience, a 30-something guy with dreadlocks. My partner was convinced that he was masturbating during the film – different, uh, strokes for different folks I guess!

  2. Alex Withrow

    I loved this damn movie. LOVED it. I agree, it isn’t exactly interested in reality, but it’s not entirely absurd either. Somewhat, but not entirely.

    • davecrewe

      Yeah, I thought it was fantastic too; the favourite (new) movie I’ve seen in 2013 so far. There was so much I didn’t have time to talk about in 200 words (like the incredibly directed Chicken Shack robbery, that Britney Spears montage…).

      It’s definitely not an entirely “unreal” work. I think the film sort of sheds the shackles of reality as it progresses; the first half is exaggerated (the grim darkness of …uh, being in college, the brilliant colours of spring break) but it isn’t until Alien enters the picture that things shift to a less “real” film (particularly after Faith’s character leaves). The rhythm of the editing goes from slightly disjointed to shuddering and choppy (not a complaint!), spiralling around the film’s players, and by the time we get to the climax it’s clear this isn’t supposed to be some real crime drama: think the repeated “Seems like a dream…” before Alien exits the film, or how the two girls fearlessly stride into a compound with dozens of gunmen and emerge without a scratch.

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    • davecrewe

      It’s definitely a divisive movie! I think even you dislike the film, you’d hopefully find it interesting (and, if nothing else, it does feature plenty of attractive people not wearing a whole lot). Keen to hear your thoughts when you check it out!

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