ChewsReviews’s review published on Letterboxd:
Seeing 'Spring Breakers' at the cinema last night was certainly interesting to say the least. The film has an awful lot to say about the themes that are on display, and it also says a lot about the majority of who pay to see it.
Judging by the sorts of people who were in the same screening as myself (I'm stereotyping here, but fuck it), most of the people, if not all, were there hoping for a sort of 'Project X' type film. Every time a pair of breasts were on the screen (which happened to be quite often) the hordes of young men would often nudge one another, I'd audibly hear them (pricks) proclaim how hot a girl is. They would laugh at James Franco constantly for his funny accent and mannerisms, for which I can't blame them. However, there never seemed to be a hint of nervous laughter from fellow audience members, which I found quite worrying.
Needless to say, most people who have made this small indie film a box office hit haven't paid to see a slightly experimental film that explores how the American Dream has evolved from people wanting a nice home, a nuclear family and stable, well-paying job into the lust for constant pre-marital sex, drugs and lots and lots of illegally earned cash or, how pop culture has made everyone of the iPod generation desperate to live a life similarly to how they perceive celebrities do.
In short, I'm guessing that most people who have contributed to 'Spring Breakers' $15 million gross (so far) is so that they could see boobs.
And I'm not going to jump on my high horse here; I will admit that the film was at times very, very sexy. Any red-blooded male of any sexual orientation would have probably found the film sexy. Any woman would have probably found the film sexy, they just won't admit it. And there were many a time in the first half of the film that I wish I could transport myself to the sunny shores of Florida state to engage in such activities, because lets face it - it looked like a whole lot of fun. But if you don't feel slightly ashamed of yourself afterwards, then you are the sort of person who this film is attacking. I doubt you even care...
But it is all fun and games until you begin to find yourself involved with someone like James Franco's 'Alien', an egotistical white 'G' who claims to be from another planet, with grills on his teeth, cornrows and bad rapping. He is living the new American Dream, as we watch him show off 'his shit' and boast about having 'Scarface' on repeat. The girls want a taste of that life, but at what cost?
Shallowness, negative morals and no direction in life - exactly what they think they're doing away from Florida at college, which is only highlighted by Korine's wonderful craftwork, constantly repeating images and voiceover dialogue which drives home the point that no matter what life you choose, it will get bloody repetitive.
Away from all of the stinging social commentary and satire of 'Spring Breakers' - when it is provoking your morality and your seemingly not-so guilty pleasures; 'Spring Breakers' is an animal of a film, an assault on the senses.
The performances from the girls are good for the most part, all they really need to do is look sexy though. The only one of them who gets a good chunk of character development is Selena Gomez, as a church-going girl who is often cautious about the antics. She's annoying as fuck and she's meant to be, so hats off to her.
But the performance that steals it comes from James Franco, surely soon to be a cult favourite actor. He is hilarious, in a laugh at the way he speaks "your not black!" kind of way (which highlights the identity crises of almost every character in the film - the pigmentation confusion, if you will) but he's also funny in a nervous tone, almost darkly comic. You're never truly sure what his intentions are (if there are any) and you're just waiting for that big event that seems to take forever to come thanks to Korine's decision to burn the narrative along slowly. And when he begins having a gang war with 'Archie' (played by Gucci Mane, a rapper away from the films who is infamous for breaking the law and generally being a bit of a horrible bastard, who must have unknowingly been criticising his own lifestyle by acting in this film) that seems to be when the story progresses and moves away from character development and aesthetics for a little while.
'Spring Breakers' will rightly cause debate and split a lot of people down the middle. It will stick with you for days to come, whether you enjoyed it or not, and you will be ominously whispering "Spring breeeeaaaak" to yourself for days. Everyone who chooses to watch it will probably be doing so for a different reason than whoever is sat next to them in the cinema. Whatever you say about it, it is definitely no less than an experience, which will provoke you with cultural representations, aesthetic mind-fucks and the strangest mainstream surreality (just wait for Franco singing a Britney Spears song on a grand piano) imaginable.
Either that, or it will just give you a hard on...