Livin’ In a Bubble – Spring Breakers Review

Rating: A / 80%   

Summary: Spring Breakers is a badass as well as incisive (thereby satisfying both pleasure-seekers and knowledge-seekers) take on 21st century’s redefined ideal on life – ‘Bad is the new Good’. 

Directed By Harmony Korine

Cast

Vanessa Hudgens – Candy

Ashley Benson – Brit

Rachel Korine – Cotty

Selena GomezFaith

James Franco – Alien

 

Spring Breakers is a social commentary on the rampantly hedonistic attitudes of Generation Y-Z. Half of you probably have turned away after reading the sentence.

The movie is also acute study on behavioral psychology, by the way… are you still here with me? I know I’ve used words that make this film sound like its dispiriting discourse on teenage life, an educational session only geeks and scholars… and Sheldon Cooper would attend. Harmony Korine has no intentions of lecturing us. He’s smart enough to sense that audiences today easily detect bullshit. They’ll pounce on it like that crazy man on bath-salts, and rip it apart. 13 to 25 is the worst, (13 today is the new 19) endowed with the sharpest teeth to maul through anything that offends their tastes i.e. tells them what’s right and what’s wrong. Ecstasy is their cookie, beer their bottled water. Try changing them and they’ll put their ‘d*ck in your face’. A good ole spanking just won’t cut. A bullet wound, maybe. And Harmony pulls the trigger, his film aims right in your face.

(L-R) Benson, Hudgens, Korine

Spring Breakers is a badass as well as incisive (thereby satisfying both pleasure-seekers and knowledge-seekers) take on 21st century’s redefined ideal on life – ‘Bad is the new Good’. The rules have changed. Serve yourself well, then think a little about the rest (only so you aren’t accused of gluttony). Follow your dreams, but f*ck anybody that comes in the way. Candy (former High School Musical starlet Vanessa Hudgens in a m*therf*cking brave performance), Cotty (Korine’s wife Rachel) and Brit (Ashley Benson), the three bad girls in Spring Breakers won’t spend their hours selling lemon-juice in their university campus to earn enough funds for heading to their dream destination ‘Spring break’. They’d rather be gambling and robbing restaurants and stuff. In a pep talk before they head on their robbing mission (with squirt guns), Candy says ‘Let’s pretend we’re in a videogame’. The scene plays like the mission from a Grand Theft Auto game where you wait in the car for a getaway as your homies rob a bank. That’s just the beginning of the game.

Mission accomplished. Woo-hoo! They’re on aboard the shiny bus that’ll take the girls – our three bad girls and their bestie Faith (another Disney star, Selena Gomez) whose conscience, tied to Catholic upbringing and faith, soon questions her moral conduct – to Spring Break. This break isn’t very different from their usual hangouts. It’s just got more titties, more sex, more music, a lot more drugs – a 24/7 alienation from the real world, into orgies of partying at beaches. Faith wants time to stop and life to like, remain like this all the time. She repeats this line more than twice, like it’s the only ambition she has in life.

Her bubble bursts! The girls are busted and sent to prison. Soon, they’re bailed out by an Anti-Christ like figure Alien, stage-name and gangsta-name for Allen (James Franco, totally rocking his scenes with a demented vitality).They’re taken to his crib, where he tempts them to kick their old boring lives and join him, Faith pulls herself out and takes the bus home. She didn’t want things to get this bad. A tortured look on her face is the last we thing we remember of her. The rest become his girls, put on pink masks, play with knives and guns and rob people. There is pressure from a rival gang, and one of the b*tches, Cotty, is shot in the arm. She chickens out. The other two, Candy and Brit, stay behind with Alien to get their sweet old revenge. 

 

Harmony Korine gives Spring Breakers a twisted contemporary look that’s highly dependent on visual style yet totally plausible as a world we are coming to expect. The sunny tanned look for the beach party scenes is reminiscent of any beach song or club song that you’d hear on MTV these days (check out Justin Bieber & Nicki Minaj’s generic ‘Beauty and The Beat’).There is a distinct use of colored lighting, mainly the primary colors and neon lights, in most of the scenes to indicate the make-believe fun-world teenagers create for themselves. When the fun is over for a girl, and she finds herself onboard the bus to take her home, he gives a harder, bleaker touch to the scene. The scenes look more compelling, more provocative. We judge less, and observe more.

Like I said before, there’s much to learn on behavioral psychology. These four girls, Alien and most of the party-goers want their egos satisfied. The repetition of wishes and desires, which some complain as monotonous, is actually how dangerously one-track minded many have become in life. Their superego i.e. how their conscience affects their choices, is brought to light in those initial scenes. We realize why Faith, actively involved with the church, was disturbed when she heard Candy and Brit talking about their robbery. There’s little point looking for character development. It would be futile to expect narrative twists and turns. Watch instead (without making subjective assumptions and judgments) how Korine represents modern times on celluloid. You’d end up appreciating his social commentary a lot more.

Isn’t this education fun? Join in!

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