Colin Chapman’s review published on Letterboxd:
Spring Breakers can be called, to an extent, The Great Gatsby for a modern audience. It tackles all of the same themes; greed, shallowness, the corruption of American society and its interpretation and definition of the American Dream. However, instead of our central character being a wealthy, charming socialite whose American Dream is the girl he has waited years for, we simply have four girls who want to want to escape their routine and mind-numbing suburban lives and enjoy their spring break. This sounds like a very generic concept, but somehow, Harmony Korine manages to twist it into a devastating portrayal of materialism and the corruption of the human soul.
I'm going to start off by saying that this film looks FANTASTIC. The colour scheme is hypnotic and vibrant. It is once in a blue moon that I am immersed within seconds of a film starting, but I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't totally captivated from the get go with this film. Korine's direction is undoubtedly one of the major factors in what makes this a profound and horrifying social commentary. So much of this film is edited with slow-motion shots and warped dubstep music, which, although in any other film would sound like the majority of people's worst nightmare, allows the audience to take in every morsel of human indecency and every speck of lust, desire and superficiality being presented through the characters on screen.
The four leading girls in this film are flawlessly cast. Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine portray four tragically sheltered girls whose primary aim in the film is to merely feel something. Some bend before adversity sooner than others, and in the end, we are left with the shallowest victims of suburbia who refuse to give in and return to being drones. Each and every one of them embraces their characters with a perfect balance of vulnerability and vivacity, allowing the audience to view them as both admirable and in a way, pathetic at the same time. Here, we see James Franco like never before, proving even further that he is a versatile and capable actor. His character is the epitome of corruption, someone who has not only achieved the "American Dream" but has also been destroyed by it, to the point of no return. Alien acts as an outlet and as an escape for the girls who decide to stay with him. They see his corruption, but they are still drawn to him, like moths to the flame. This is where we see the central themes pushing through.
Spring Breakers is not pretentious. It is not mindless dribble hiding behind a facade of artsy film making and social and cultural relevance. It is not shallow, unintelligent or ludicrous. It is a masterpiece, through and through. It is ambitious cinema of the highest order. There are countless films released on an annual basis which criticise society and expose how empty the human spirit can truly be, but there has never been one quite like this. Spring Breakers dares to venture one step forward. It is not a film without optimism or hope, but it isn't hesitant to tell us, the audience, that yes, the American Dream has evolved into something ugly and malicious, and it isn't afraid to tell us that this ugliness and maliciousness is easily desired. It is a bitterly truthful tale, told in the most mesmerising and beautifully eccentric way possible.
I'm in love.