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Spring Breakers: An alluring cult classic about senseless youths

Spring Breakers is a self-realized inspection into the frail minds of shallow teenagers who indulge in depraved joie de vivre.

Being psychedelically satirical by dedicating every single second to its frivolity, Spring Breakers, directed by Harmony Korine, dogs the footsteps of a coming-of-age adventure by four stereotypical college girls. On the beaches of Florida, they enjoy their spring break, followed by getting mixed up through a tangle of convoluted experiences in this stomping ground, full of dubstep, booze, sex, and violence.

The party girls in their hedonistic routine

Possibly the one of the most style-over-substance movie in recent years, Spring Breakers does not underscore its plot and narration. Instead, the movie grooves on the feeling of drugged wistfulness and alluring visual style, aided by the eye-straining neon lights to express its satirical theme about modern American society. It is aimed particularly at the young generation today, associated with their adolescent delusions about self-discovery and examination of the outside world by dwelling in hedonism somewhere away from home. The editing is miraculously done with intercuts between two different periods of time as well as a dreamlike parroting of the “mantras”, highlighting their blind misworship and feeble confusion during both festivities and predicaments.

Pool parties – up close and personal

The opening, much like later transitions, displays realistic footage of beach parties that American youths take part in their spring break: heavy-bass brostep, excessive usage of liquors, and bikinis with bare chests by the coasts. They ecstasize in the hallucination of pleasure; in their eyes, these shindigs are a means to escapism. Spring break is some kind of desirable religion, which salvages their boring routines. To partake in with their peers is a must. This idea is presented through the repetition of “Spring break, spring break forever.” line from start to finish, paired with phone calls from their relatives. The girls talk about how they feel different and find their “real” selves there, and how great and extramundane the place seems to them. Under colorfully glazing sceneries, the spring breakers think they finally get ahold of their inner spirits. The delusion is to be in close touch with friends who would permanently stick with them through everlasting pleasures, as the movie’s climax makes use of this talk in a messed-up and ironic manner.

The religious perception of spring break swallows up their consciousness like a voluntary obsession – in a surrealistic taste. Even in a twinkling, the sensation still feels eternal within that brief moment of rejoicing. In order to experience this, three out of the four girls, Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine), and Brit (Ashley Benson), decide to rob a diner using claw hammers and squirt guns – for spring break money – and steal a lecturer’s car to travel there before burning it down like a campfire.

Ashley Benson as Brit, under the neon lights

The fourth one, Faith (Selena Gomez) is the stock “nice, weak-kneed homegirl” character, who reluctantly goes to a religious faction every week. Faith loves to join her friends for a getaway but also is too meek and reserved to go all the way; she has an unnerving revulsion when being told about the aforementioned heist. This is the only one among the main characters given proper background for audience to get behind while the others are portrayed like just typical party minxes craving the adventurous hype of danger. Oh wait, Candy and Brit are My Little Ponies fangirls and have enough guts mixed with curiosity to stick till the end, and that is just about it for them. Also, there is an amusing addition – Alien (James Franco). A gangster wannabe who proclaims to be a top-notch hustler, Alien invites the girls into petty robbers and even more hedonistic leisures. He is the most important factor in influencing character arcs.

James Franco, Rachel Korine, Ashley Benson, and Vanessa Hudgens

Bestowing the most to Spring Breakers’ forlorn and hypnotic appeal are two stylistic elements: visual and soundtrack. The night scenes are remarkable, exploited to introduce red, yellow, turquoise, and hot magenta neon lights over surroundings, not in irresponsible messes but quite aesthetically arranged: sometimes immensely laid out over the frame, sometimes aligned with each other, bounced across walls or outstretch on waters. Skrillex and Britney Spears’ music cues are properly made use of, enforcing the hedonistic fizziness of this superficial approach.

While Spring Breakers is not for average viewers, the movie is still not too poignant (at face value) because it does not try to be. Korine knew what he was doing with it as he employed and committed to the window created by its overarching themes: superficiality and giddiness. Thus, Spring Breakers is a self-realized inspection into the frail minds of shallow teenagers who indulge in depraved joie de vivre, as well as the twisted danger lurking in that unexplored world.