This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
ocWavean’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I've been to movies where, despite its thick story, rich cinematography, beautifully woven characters, and an ability to completely cast yourself into a world entirely devoid of your own personal believes, there are still people who continue to talk, awkwardly open candy wrappers, and brush it off once it's finished. But, when you see a film completely barren in every single department, masked behind boobs, ass shots, liquor, drugs and loud blaring music presented to an audience completely expressionless, simply taking it all in, without saying more than a cough, unfortunately speaks volumes about society at that exact moment -- Nobody said a word during Spring Breakers, and that includes the film-goer
Harmony Korine's films do not have an overall purpose, or intent, or message (they function on a feeling that you can't quite articulate), and are meant as a means of making you feel something (whether negative or positive. But, it doesn't matter -- there is no wrong way to react to films) From Gummo, Kids, Mister Lonely to Spring Breakers, the latter was unfortunately filled with nihilism too rife with obviousness; a film cannot exist without an underlining meaning for existence, even if it was only mentioned once. Otherwise it pushes a persons mind far too deep into the potentiality of understanding its being -- is it the material/joyfulness of gluttony? Is it a dream? Is it purely fantasy? What I know is that I hated this film. Correction. Hate.
While Korine's Spring Breakers may be an aberrant look at this generations current lust for a need to heavily celebrate (yet also heavily criticize), and it may be sweet yet despairingly dark, unrealistic (yet familiar), it's so many things wrapped into a "pop poem" (as Korine describes it), insofar that Spring Breakers is an incredible work of satire that I was natured to hate.
Spring Breakers is a prime example of how a film can be more intelligent than the audience. Film goers are meant to detest Alien (James Franco). He's a scumbag who preys on college girls, and tries to impress them with all his ill-gotten gains. The Average Joe in the audience isn't going to realize that he isn't any better than Alien is. The audience paid 10$, a price based on the promise of scantily clad girls (especially Selena Gomez), drugs, dubstep, and hopefully wrapped in a story. The film delivers on accounts -- What was your college experience like? If it was anything similar to this, then this film has you.
However, in the end, the audience shouldn't walk out of the theatre having a good time, because the people in the audience are Alien. Invariably, I walked out before the end of the film, so ha!
Audience members go to a movie to live vicariously through the characters on screen, but this film is actually a cautionary tale that exploits Spring Breakers, and as a result, are best fitted for fictional characters.
There's a moment in the film where Alien becomes the audience. "Are you scared?" is repeated over and over to Alien. The girls aren't speaking to him though, the girls are speaking directly to the audience via voice-over. They're arousing the audience and making fun of them for not being capable of experiencing spring break for themselves... or a variant.
At this point Alien responds to the girls on behalf of the audience, "Yeah, I'm scared". He is now representing how the escapades in the film would happen in real life, and the girls around him represent the outcome in a fictional setting. You either die, cry and go home, or just don't like something and leave.
In real life the spring break portrayed in films like this would get you killed. It should be confined to fantasy, and should not be replicated. But, this was so obese in fantasy, that it's blatant it could never be copied -- it missed the trees for the forest.
But, the main issue with this film is it's completely devoid of these explicit feelings. A film cannot live solely on a viewers expectation. This was not a work of art, as say Malick's Tree of Life, or Bergman's The Seventh Seal, or Kurosawa's Dreams, as it was more a complete mess. I hated this film within the first 5 seconds.
The sensual overload of Korine's day-glo images of full bodies in drunk and staggered motion, underlined by the assault of Skrillex and whatever the hell else was playing, makes Spring Breakers seem transcendent in 2 minute bursts; tits, scene, tits, scene, tits, scene ad nauseum. But, the overall effect is exhausting, like a party that grinds on after most of the attendees have either left, passed out, or are puking in your mothers favourite plant. And much like Kids, Korine's film has an intended moral hysteria -- a warning shot to parents. "Watch out!".
Furthermore, the script for this film must have been written on a cocktail napkin, with a coffee stained ring around what is a value for an expected projection, rather than an idea for something much greater than life.
... I hated this film. Not for everything it may have stood for, but for everything it doesn't stand for, and as a result, I liked it for making me absolutely hate it.
Screw you, Spring Breakers.