Spring Breakers is a 100-minute-long “No Hope for the Human Race” meme. It’s a candy-coated, acid trip down a rabbit hole of teenage breasts, alcohol, puke and cocaine. Unlike anything I’ve seen in 2013, Harmony Korine’s film is shocking and absurd, both by design, and yet unforgettable.
It follows the exploits of four college students, played by Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine, who rob a local restaurant to fund their Spring Break trip to Florida. Once there, the group is soon neck deep in the debauchery of the culture–portrayed in the film as an endless slow-motion, beer-soaked montage of breasts, gyrating female derrieres, and bongs, scored to Skrillex. If heaven were a place on earth, this would be it for these girls.
But the party has to end some day and soon the foursome is behind bars. Lucky (or unlucky) for them, they’re sprung free by Alien, a drug-dealing, and rapper cum Britney Spears-aficionado played by James Franco in a preposterous, Gary Oldman-channeling performance that’s destined to be quoted by frat-house jocks for years to come. Still, I’d rather see him stretch with a kooky character like Alien than snooze through another Oz.
Shot with a seductive neon glow by Benoit Debie, Korine’s film is probably the first movie in history that’s simultaneously exploitative, a critique on a culture that’s slowly going to hell, and strangely enough, a female-empowerment piece. I don’t know how he accomplishes it but he does. The saddest thing is that half the people who watch this movie are the ones it critiques. And they’ll be the same people who’ll hate it for not being the T&A fest they expected it to be. “Spring Break Forever!”