Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers ★★★★★

Harmony Kormine’s Spring Breakers is the most controversial film of 2013 so far and it’s certainly not hard to see why. The film takes Disney darlings Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens and drops them into a candy coloured nightmare full of wild, hedonistic exploits and illicit activity.

It’s easy to feel out of place in today’s society, especially when you’re young. The desire to break free of conventions, to leave one’s mundane hometown and move on to bigger and better things is a universal one, and a personal one. Let loose and get rid of your inhibitions with a healthy combination of sex, drugs and incessant partying. That’s the sentiment held by the 4 vivacious college girls (Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Kormine) at the centrepiece of this picture. It’s the reason they rob a store to fund their spring break, and it’s the reason their wild party holiday turns into something bleaker once they are introduced to Alien.

Alien is played by James Franco with a ferocious insanity. Cornrows, gold rings, silver plated teeth and seemingly made of money, he creates one of the most memorable characters of recent times. He’s the only character with any real substance and that’s not a slight to the others, emotional investment isn’t needed in the girls here, what with the capricious plotting and focus on style.

The entrancing visual style utilizes a bright colour palette, drenching the picture in vibrant yellows and pinks, which hold a faded tint, an allegory for the monster lurking beneath the periphery. The camerawork is dreamlike, gliding elegantly through the air, focusing on details in the background and floating about unobtrusively. It adds a lot to the poetic ambience of the piece.

Who would’ve thought that Britney Spears would be the backdrop of one of the most inspired montages in recent memory? Her melodic ‘Everytime’ plays over a stunning sequence which reveals the true depths to which the girls have sunk and how easy it is to sink so far so quickly. Slow motion camerawork is often misused but it works to perfection in this scene. The soundtrack as a whole is sublime. In keeping with the sexy, hip milieu, it’s a dynamic combination of electro, pop and dreamy songs. Cliff Martinez is one of the most talented film composers working today.

This is far from verbose. The only character with any meaty dialogue is Alien. The film prefers to focus on the mood and atmosphere, painting a hauntingly beautiful portrait of lost souls on a wondrous journey of self-discovery that has disturbing implications. What starts off as a wild party story descends into darker territory, and concludes in a shocking finale which was a risky choice that Kormine pulled off in my opinion.

Underneath the surface lays a profound and unsettling experience, fuelled by adrenaline rushes and a feverish energy. At once hypnotic, mature and alluring, Spring Breakers is a striking vision of the MTV generation and takes a meditative approach to display a daring take on the girls gone bad scenario.

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