Adam N’s review published on Letterboxd:
Spring Breakers is the movie that seems to be the biggest love it or hate it of the year, and probably the most successful bait-and-switch marketing campaign I have seen, even if it is malicious and exploitatory. Marketed as a beach, boobs and booze movie, and released at around the time of Spring Break 2013, it managed to get legions of college aged spring breakers and similar curious fun-loving teenagers to go and see it hoping for some sort of a fun summer movie (or a soft-core porno it seemed for some) . Well what they all got was obviously not what they expected, or wanted, and thus piles of hate began to sprout towards it. What they got was a pile of beautiful hypnotizing cinematic artistry smothered over pure disgusting party trash. And that is where the bait and switch lies, as where people decently accustomed to arthouse or Korine films in general (I am not with the latter, this is my first Korine film) manage to pick up and love the artistry and everyone else only sees what it is as a film subject. Of course I am generalizing, and I know many well-attuned reviewers hated it and many people who don't know anything about it still liked it, and both are understandable. For the former, it is still a beach, boobs and booze movie, and while it isn't devoid of intelligence, it is shallow and frankly disgusting at parts. For the later, I feel the film still has just the right amount of fun to be entertaining and just the right amount of hypnotic, transcendence tendencies to it to seduce even the most ignorant audiences.
Now, before seeing the film, I had heard a lot about it being satire and commentary on the disgusting attitudes of today's youth or similar things. While those bits do clearly exist in some form in the film, they seem very subdued and is not what makes the film as good as it comes off to be, or at least to me because now I know after watching it I don't care about any commentary it is trying to make. Rather the film seems to show its brilliance to me simply with the trance-enducing, hallucinogenic nature of the entire film. It feels like a companion piece of cinema to what I saw just yesterday with Upstream Color. They both have the same dreamlike ambiance and organic feeling to them. They are both completely captured in a Malick-like way as much as I hate to say it. However that Malick styled cinema is exactly what is fun for me to see. You can think of me however you want, but the finesse cinematic brilliance of films like these are what excites me about film. It is what gets me going, makes me have a good time, gets me invested in what is being shown to me, gets me to love it. It is the style I am growing more and more familiar with, and it is what I think I am most attracted to (and all this seems somewhat ironic to me, because with all the somewhat Malickesque rip-offs this year has had, I have liked them all more than the actual 2013 Malick film To the Wonder. But whatever haha).
With Spring Breakers also comes a fantastic character performance from James Franco with the character Alien, of which there is really no comparison to the hilarious involvement he puts to it. You can really tell that it is strictly Franco's character and it is great. And then of course a highlight to me is also Cliff Martinez's score, and while it isn't as good as his score for Only God Forgives it is still pretty incredible.
Spring Breakers is ultimately a disgusting pile of crap. But is a beautiful disgusting pile. It is unreal, poetic, fascinating and down-right terrifying. Spring Breakers is not a story of the American dream like Alien seems to think. It is the story of the American nightmare, and it is probably the most unforgettable film of the year.
7th of 2013 (out of 39 as of 10/17/2013)