It has taken me more than I would like to admit to sit down and write anything remotely coherent about “Spring breakers”. I’ve been starting this piece way too many times and whichever way I looked at it, I kept being disappointed with the results of my sad pseudo-artistic sweaty craftsmanship. Therefore, I figured I’d take a couple days off to work through my writer’s block and I’d come back all freshened up and ready to rumble. While I’m not sure about my readiness to engage in anything that involves risking bruises, I think I can now safely write something about what I saw last Saturday.
Now, “Spring breakers” is not your regular look at how contemporary early-twenty-something-year-olds perceive the world. Oh, no. It’s a brutal dissection of what I can only see as a cultural, behavioral and moral whore house that Harmony Korine (writer and director) thinks is the reality of today’s young studying adults. And it sports just enough breasts to top “The Game of Thrones” and still fail to be seen as porn.
For those who don’t know, “Spring Breakers” is Korine’s way to get back out there and be noticed again. He came afloat in 1995 with his debut script to a highly controversial picture “Kids” (which I have yet to see, an episode of Blind Spot perhaps?), that brought to light a subject of teenagers discovering their sexuality in hedonistic, selfish and dangerous ways. He made a bit of splash and proceeded to become a one-hit wonder. Now he’s back with “Spring Breakers” – a film about four college students who would do anything to be a part of something.
Somewhere deep in the American interior, four college girls live with only one thought that’s keeping them alive: to save money and go to Florida for Spring Break (a phenomenon that goes right over my head, but hey…) and break free from the sad college routine (classes, party, beer-pong, sex, rinse, repeat). Sadly – as partying costs money, I guess – they fail to gather the monetary means they needed. Therefore, they decide to rob a restaurant. And so they do. They get the money, they go to Florida, they party their asses off (literally), they participate in rampant vandalism and they end up in jail after a police raid. Spring Break is over for them, but not for long, as they get bailed out by a local wannabe ghetto gangster Alien (James Franco) who guides them towards the darkest recesses of hedonistic fantasies in Florida’s underworld. Some of them will get back in touch with reality, some won’t…
It occurs to me just now that it simply is difficult to write about “Spring Breakers” because it is a very unusual and weird movie. I truthfully have no idea what to make of it. It touches on a very uncomfortable and important subject of nihilism, hedonism (and probably a couple other –isms) that is widespread among today’s youth, though brushwork used to delineate the problem is awfully resembling of caricature.
It’s not that “Spring Breakers” is a bad film. It’s not. It’s just too in-your-face with its message. Surely the problem Korine touches has been blown out of proportion here and elevated to the level of parable. Maybe that’s it. I just don’t buy it. I don’t want to come across as detached from reality, because I know full well how young people lead double lives, one for their parents to see and the other that the parents have no clue about. “Spring Breakers” makes note of that issue in a most blatant way, but it sure does work. We get to see how girls sneak out of an orgy to ring up their folks and lie to them about how much fun it is to ride scooters and sunbathe on the sandy beaches of Florida. Now, that scares the living daylights out of me. It looks to me, as though Harmony Korine tried to show me just how hopeless these people are and that for them there’s no return.
Or maybe is it our fault altogether? Perhaps it’s the way we, as a society, tend to neglect our children while trying to make ends meet, pursuing careers (that are pointless anyway, if you look closer) that molds people into emotional train wrecks who would stop at nothing in an attempt to feel anything at all… Maybe that’s why these girls allow to be objectified and develop almost animalistic responses to their sexual needs. There’s nothing romantic in the way they explore their sexuality Pure hedonistic thrill is the only thing they seem to care about. It only matters to get high, get drunk and get laid.
Here I dare call your bluff, Mr Korine. Surely, exposing ones breasts in order to get them lubricated with beer is not all, right? Surely, lying on a table covered with cocaine and being licked by strangers is not the end… There has got to be more to people’s lives than the hedonistic need of having an orgasm every other minute. Otherwise, young people’s lives could be summarized as a collage of breasts, gonads, drugs, alcohol, violence, orgasms, guns closed in a loop with a soundtrack by Britney Spears. And that would be a sad state of things.
“Spring Breakers” turned out to be a dark movie about an uncomfortable subject, whose validity might have been slightly fabricated in order to keep it interesting. The end result may have skewed on the side of pretentious, but the overall effect stays – “Spring Breakers” hopes to be the noir anatomy of youth, but instead looks more like an excuse to film half-naked girls running around with guns.
Now that I think about it, it’s not entirely unlikely that there is something deeper in “Spring Breakers” after all. Perhaps, just as we are led to believe that contemporary young people would contemplate self-destruction by hedonism to fill the void after the unmet need for emotions and attention, it is Harmony Korine who desperately craves our attention and affirmation.
Diagnosis – hopeless.