Kenny’s review published on Letterboxd:
With this being my first Harmony Korine film, I didn't really know anything about his style or his way of thinking, when it comes to direction. Known for the shocking content in his film, Korine isn't just another director on the street. But with everyone on this site and everything I've heard about Spring Breakers, it instantly became one of my most anticipated films of the year.
First off, the marketing team behind this film should win some sort of award for tricking all of these young people into seeing essentially an art-house film. Some of my friends saw it while it was playing in theaters, expecting another Project X type movie, but with some more familiar and recognizable faces, specifically James Franco, Selena Gomez, and Vanessa Hudgens. Which really amused me, since I knew that this was a Harmony Korine directed film and it wouldn't be what they were hoping for. But they didn't. As expected, they told me not to go see it, since they thought it got boring after 30 minutes. Oh, how they were so wrong...
Don't go into Spring Breakers expecting a huge party film, which it is marketed as. While it is in the beginning, that changes pretty fast. I apologize to compare Korine to Malick like many have been doing already, but the film has a Malick-like juxtaposition of action and dialogue, which I really enjoyed. It's also very satirical. Korine takes these girls known for their Disney Channel fame and throws them into roles they have never played before, which was really interesting to see. It's basically a commentary on the generation of today and how they are so obsessed with celebrities, pop culture and how immoral behavior is seen as fun by the masses, something not a lot of films explore, since it is still relatively new.
Korine's direction is entirely entrancing and hypnotic, with whispery dialogue and bright colors. With the cinematography being fantastic, it really established the tone and overall mood of the film very early on. The score was surprisingly good, created by Cliff Martinez of Drive fame and Skrillex. The opening sequence throws us right in the middle of spring break, showing us the scantly-clad women, the beer bongs, and everything in between and everything else typically associated with spring break. Korine keeps showing us footage like this throughout the film and what I think he was trying to do is make all the spring break party stuff boring and repetitive, other than appealing.
The writing is pretty good, especially all the dialogue for James Franco's Alien character (pronounced Aleen). His performance steals the show, not just because of his accent or absurdity, it's just the way he shows vulnerability while still being this gangster rapper. This is easily James Franco's best work yet. As for the main girls, they did a solid job of acting naive, but other than that, nothing new or outstanding do they bring to Spring Breakers. I genuinely only cared for Selena Gomez's character Faith, the good, christian one out of the group. The story is straight-forward and is easy to follow, nothing complex here. It can be pretty humorous at times and like most, this film has a scene involving a Britney Spears song and it's really great. But the biggest problem I have with the film is the ending. It just really didn't do it for me and left a bitter taste in my mouth.
Other than that, Harmony Korine's shocking Spring Breakers is great and I will certainly bring it up later in the year, when discussing the best films of 2013.