There is a famous theory/idea that if you got a group of monkeys and gave them typewriters, they’d eventually complete Shakespeare (or something, you haven’t come here to read about playwrights…) I imagine that if you applied the same theory to pornography audio, you’d eventually get the script for Spring Breakers.
When I read about Spring Breakers earlier this year, or possibly late last year? I was really looking forward to seeing this. It looked like American Pie (minus the gross out comedy) mixed with Drive. I got Spring Breakers on DVD at one of the few remaining HMVs. And I’m pretty peeved that I spent so much money on it. Luckily it was on a deal with The Place Beyond The Pines, which I’m hoping will make up the value of both of them.
The opening sequence of Spring Breakers is effectively boobs. Lots of boobs. And drink being thrown over boobs. And jiggly boobs. Which you would think sets the tone for the whole film. Well it does for the first half anyway. Now I’m not averse to the naked female form. It’s commonplace in films, gratuitously so. And this I don’t mind so much. But when the boobs belong to girls who are barely legal, we have a slight problem. I hated the tone of the film, which seemed a little rapey. The fact that half of the cast is basically made up of Disney barely-grown-ups is problematic. When most shots are focussed on their knickers, or bras, or legs, its difficult to not feel uncomfortable. Spring Breakers fetishizes the female body in a way I haven’t seen on screen for quite a while. The fact these girls look underage too is definitely on purpose. Now don’t take this as a feminist issue, it’s a completely human issue. The fact is, no one should be fracturing girls bodies in this way. It’s purely for excitement and titillation. Emphasised so blatently in the prison scene where they are locked up for two days wearing nothing but their bikinis. The rapey theme is fully in force here.
The second huge issue of the film is James Franco. I mean WTF? Seriously. How on earth did this one happen? Quite possibly the strangest casting decision in modern cinema. He’s gone hell for leather wrong in Spring Breakers. The irony of it is, the fact that Franco took time away from acting to educate himself, and quite highly so. To even begin to list his academic achievements would require some serious time investment. So it’s quite blindingly obvious Franco knows so much better than this. I’m not saying that education is a reason to shun exploitation cinema, but something this gratuitous, so pornographic, which doesn’t even condemn nor approve, it’s pretty confusing.
The problem with Spring breakers, is it astonishingly has potential. The second half of the film was actually very engaging. The plot began to develop, the characters became real characters rather than a pair of boobs on legs. The nightmarish qualities of this film truly come to life in the second half, repetitive script, bleak visuals and overlapping of scenes and segments of story really do come together and create something of substance. In a particularly odd scene, James Franco and the girls stand around a piano and sing Britney Spears ‘Everytime’. It’s a strangely beautiful scene. But unfortunately there isn’t enough to justify this film. It’s a real shame, because you can see the potential, you can see that it is probably a very good film under all the sleaze and scum. The visuals of the film are stunning. It’s like hot pink latex stuck to bubblegum. The colours are beautifully tacky and clash at every given moment, maybe a signifier that the film knows exactly what it is. Ultimately, Spring Breakers is too ridiculous to be taken seriously, but too arty to just sit back and enjoy, which is a real shame. I wish someone had told Harmony Korine to focus, and probably could have made it another half hour long, it would be a good film. Instead we have an oddly current outdated nightmarish view of ‘youth’ culture, which isn’t particularly relevant anymore.
- Spring Breakers (smallscreenreviews.com)
- James Franco: Spring Breakers ‘wasn’t hard’ (contactmusic.com)
- Gemma’s Review for ‘Spring Breakers’ (boomradio.com.au)
- Spring Breakers (2013) (consumedbyfilm.wordpress.com)
- The Evil of Banality: Spring Breakers and F. Scott Fitzgerald (thisnerdinglife.com)
- Spring Breakers (unfashionablemale.co.uk)