Director: Harmony Korine
Writer: Harmony Korine (screenplay)
Stars: Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson
Motion picture rating: R
Runtime: 94 minutes
Spring Breakers opens with a montage straight out of a ‘girls gone bad’ reality compilation. Spring Break is that quintessential rite of passage for US college kids and the opening shots show them drinking, dancing and fooling around like there is no tomorrow. That is the primary theme; kids taking a time-out from ‘normal’ life to go completely crazy for a few days. They do act as if there’s no tomorrow or more likely as if they don’t want tomorrow (and another day of “seeing the same things every day” as nice girl Faith explains early on).
There are five main characters in the film and two distinct parts to it. Four best friends (Faith, Candy, Brit and Cotty) head to Florida for Spring Break, having robbed a diner to fund their excursion. In prepping for the felony they tell each other to “pretend like it’s a video game”. That is the secondary theme; the desensitisation of young adults that are inundated with images of sex, drugs and violence. Certainly the girls take to armed robbery with glee. They also take to Florida and soon Korine is adding montages of them drinking, dancing, fooling around and riding scooters.
The film changes with the introduction of James Franco as local drug dealing rapper Alien. He bails the girls out of jail and takes them under his tattooed wing. He loses Faith (Selena Gomez), but keeps three of them interested by showing off his mansion, money and weapons. Alien is a youthful Tony Montana (with De Palma’s Scarface on a continuous loop in his crib). As such he is ambitious and he has enemies. Faith is right to be concerned about his lifestyle and once Cotty gets caught in the crossfire it is just Brit (Ashley Benson) and Candy (Vanessa Hudgens) that remain. The final threesome thus head for a showdown with Alien’s nemesis and a bloody end to Spring Break.
Doubtless there is some cool camera work and a slickness to this that will appeal to college kids everywhere. The montages are overdone, but most capture the euphoria of reckless youth. It is impressive at times, but depressing for anyone older than 35. The kids are almost feral and their consumption of sex and drugs and rock n roll is boundless. They have no redeeming qualities and don’t care for anything. Accordingly it is impossible to care about them or the film.