Lee’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was introduced to the insane mind of Harmony Korine several years ago when I watched Gummo; his debut feature is a film devoid of narrative that feels and presents itself as a nihilistic journey of the depraved mind in form of archival visuals. It fascinated me and I loved it for all its psychedelic craft. Julien Donkey-Boy although I didn't love as much proved to be a completely different level for Korine – this time featuring a more visible narrative, whilst also still using the gritty visuals ever present throughout Gummo, which follows a similar style to his most recent work from 2009 in Trash Humpers; one of the most disturbing films I've ever seen.
Korine’s work to me has always been powerful and somewhat iconic, but when I revisited Mister Lonely (I didn’t care for it the first time), I fell head over heels in love with Korine. As soon as I finished it, I thought to myself there’s no way Korine can ever make something that reaches the same heights that Mister Lonely does. Roll on to 2013, and has Korine achieved the impossible of topping a masterpiece? He has, and it’s called Spring Breakers.
Spring Breakers shows Korine finally getting some commercial notice and while the balls-out insanity of it allows Korine to speak to a larger audience, Spring Breakers is a difficult film to watch. In the very first moments we are drowned with images of breasts over and over again laced with the sound of a Skrillex track. As I sat there and heard the ‘drop’, I couldn’t believe I was watching a Harmony Korine film - the same man who made a film about people who attempt to have sex with trash bins. But with the colour palette and unsubtly of the scenes, it shows how far Korine has come and that he really doesn't give a shit.
I expected something after all these years of anticipation, but I had no idea exactly what to expect. There’s no denying that Spring Breakers is an exciting piece of work, what with James Franco’s over-the-top portrayal of Alien (real name Al) and his repetitive dialogue, but it works so well. “Look at my shit” and “Spring break, bitches” are his most used lines and Franco’s dedication and enthusiasm shows that he, like Korine, really doesn’t give one shit. As hilarious as Franco it is, the show really belongs to our four lead female protagonists. All out of their comfort zone – most notably are Vanessa Hudgens and Selina Gomez known for their Disney (!) careers, who excel. Gomez delivers the emotional drive (she’s a better actress than I gave her credit for) and the rest show the ‘teenage rebel’ in devastating fashion.
As far as I’m concerned, Spring Breakers is a great film. Many will hate it for being too provocative, whilst others will love for it for its bravado. WWF’s own Jeff Jarrett and rapper Gucci Mane show up. I love Harmony Korine.