A fantasy smeared in neon, “Spring Breakers” brilliantly depicts an ugly American cultural narrative. I stayed away from Harmony Korine’s film for as long as possible, then spring break happened and boredom struck. Contrary to belief, I’m still in awe as to how unexpected it turned out to be. “Spring Breakers” has to be the most relevant depictions of our times and the sad thing about it is that so many people are reluctant to see it, hated it, or underrated it.
An amoral plot carried by explicit shots, hedonism and saturated colors paints the fantasy story of Cotty, Candy, Brit and Faith, four college friends looking to make the most of their spring break. The quartet is played by Rachel Korine, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Selena Gomez.
Using fake water guns disguised in ski masks, the friends, excluding Faith, rob a diner to fund the spring break they’re anticipating. They make their way to the beaches of Florida looking for a spring break to remember. After a crazy party, they find themselves in jail and that’s when Alien comes into the picture and bails them out.
Arguably in one of his most memorable role, James Franco is hardly recognizable with cornrows and a mouth full of metal, portraying Alien, south beach rapper with an obsession for guns, money and ‘hustling.’ Cotty, Candy, Faith and Brit decide to let Alien show them a good time and a hardly sexual relationship is built; which gives credit to the writer because what seemingly looked creepy and weird was actually pretty mutual. The bikini wearing antiheroes team up with Alien to rob “spring breakers” on vacation and find debauched pleasures in being bad. After the same hedonisms it is apparent why Alien sees these women as his “soul mates.”
This idea is reflective in the entire film. The movie appears creepy with the ingrained notion that it’s not ideal for young women to be going about as they did. The film carries this vibe as if something bad is expected to happen to these four friend, from the beginning straight to end, but nothing does making this movie unusual and scary for other reasons.
There is a direct jab at the values placed into spring break in popular culture. Spring break rituals have been ingrained in the minds of youth seen popularly on MTV and media outlets of the same criteria for far too long. Spring break promotes youth debauchery and the idea of living fearless of consequences of a moral behavior, and we get a week to live it up sort of idea. But who really is doing this? That’s a question that media should shine a little more light on.
Admirably Korine puts a mirror in front of the eyes of his audience with subversive material that critiques American cultural values, spring break rituals and youthful hedonism. “Spring Breakers” is one of the most underrated films I’ve seen in a while that is deserving of praise for its anti- glamorization of spring break and its quality cinematic uniqueness.
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