Larry’s review published on Letterboxd:
A beach party in the vein of Enter the Void. A mansion that glows pink like the neon letters in Drive. An hour and thirty minute party montage that oozes neon liquid and blares broken sound. A transcendent audiovisual trip into the depths of the American youth.
Its Spring Break.
Compulsive trash humper and arthouse demigod Harmony Korine has somehow created one of the most visually and viscerally intense films of this generation. Uh huh. The film about Disney stars in bikinis is one of the most abrasive and colorful trips in recent cinematic history. Yes, youre reading that right. Spring Breakers is in your face and gets deep under your sunburt crispy skin; an abusive and addicting picture that dances in ecstasy along the line of satire and celebration. Spring Breakers on the outside seems to be every teenage girls dream movie. (It was definitely marketed this way.) A poppy, glitzy story of girls finding themselves during Spring Break. Teenage heartthrob James Franco even shows up! But unfortunately he enters at a point in the film where the Forever 21 crowd is already long gone...
But really, Spring Breakers is closer to a Malickian examination of the American youth and all its drunken, dizzying faded glory. I have to say, it is one of the most transfixing and hypnotic films I have viewed since the aforementioned Enter the Void. This is not merely coincidence as I happened to find out from someone else that they both share the same director of photography. I am a sucker for neon lit nightmares of existential angst, so naturally Spring Breakers pulled me in quick. Its strange though, because despite being lured into its strange ambiance quickly and never really being taken out until the credits rolled, I never really cared about the characters or the events happening in front of me. I was kind of in a post-midnight state of mind/body exhaustion; sitting there mouth hanging agape and eyes half closed. Just watching the reflections of pretty colors dance across my eyes. But maybe that was what Korine was aiming at? A complete and utter detachment to the human element but being transfixed by the pulsating life of the party in front of you. Thematically it perfectly documents, AND condemns current party culture for the inhuman void of sex and sleaze that it promotes. It really is like watching a bunch of neon colors being flushed down a toilet very slowly but FEELS like you are walking through the middle of the worlds biggest party, head down, shoulders bumping others, and your mind going 100 miles a minute. Its hypnotizing, claustrophobic and crazy but also begs a slew of other questions being vomited up by your feet.
One being why on earth this film was made. I'm sure only Korine knows (or doesn't know) the one true answer, so its just our job to express how it hit us personally. I found that it often satirized the personalities and cultures of Floriadian (and undeniably American) youth; James Franco's character was a particularly great example of a young man born out of insecurity and clashing cultures. This is today's youth. This is today's future. And it likes to shake beer off its ass. Wading through Spring Breakers' cynicism will also lead to the discovery of another aspect you wouldnt think of... The film so I've heard can also be considered a celebration of this certain youth culture. It almost plays out like a big teenage fantasy or surreal dream. A non stop party that quickly transcends itself. You want to live in it and you want to be there but the film makes you feel disgusting for it. Its the millennial nocturnal weekend.
Spring Breakers I think will be an odd film to look back on. Its rough and divides a lot of people. But on the other hand its great simply for its cinematography, its amazing art style and its strong emotional responses from its audience. The editing is particularly dreamy and even though the narrative doesn't flow traditionally, it still feels like its flowing somewhere. Liquid narrative at its finest. It stumbles along the way and some scenes seem to drag on forever, implying a deeper meaning, and sometimes none can be found. But more often than not Spring Breakers is an all out assault on your senses and beckons you into a neon fantasy of sex, Malibu rum and bodily fluids. It shows you the guilty horrors of this world but still opens its arms warmly to you.
What are you waiting for?