I rarely feel the strong urge to walk out on a film. I can handle a slow start and will even suffer through some pretty brutal exposition, but the opening montage of a Girls Gone Wild style beach party and the way Director Harony Korine's camera continually drifted to and hung onto close-ups the young women's bodies was enough to twist my nerves into seriously considering cutting my losses and exiting before a single character had even been introduced. ...but I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and stick around a little longer.
Over the course of the next half hour I endured some of that brutal exposition I mentioned earlier as the four, never fully clothed, female protagonists attempted to figure out how to gather enough money to travel away from their mundane college lives for a week... or forever. They quickly made the money they needed by robbing the local Chicken Shack. How did they do this, you ask? Why, by "pretending it's a video game" of course! They got the money. They traveled to Florida. And then somehow before I knew it I was caught up in some bizarre candy-colored, white-trash-Terrance-Malick fever dream. Between the floating non-linear edits and the creamsicle soundtrack I was mesmerized. Around the time James Franco's character, Alien, first appeared I slid all the way back into my seat and surrendered.
I am still not entirely sure how I feel about this film, but I find I can't stop talking about it. Ultimately I'm glad I stuck around, but for better or for worse many of the images will indelibly stamped on my mind forever. I can't say for sure if Korine is holding a mirror up to society or reveling in its debauchery. I suppose he kinda has his cake an eats it too. On the one hand, in the linear story the girls ultimately end up broken down and remorseful for all of they have done (robbery, binge drinking, sexual proclivity, murder.) On the other hand the the non-linear run of the film actually ends in a video game-style final boss shoot-out in which two 110lb girls take out an entire army of thugs without ever reloading or taking cover.
At times "Spring Breakers" feels like a new generation's "Easy Rider," but can a generation defining film come from someone not even of that generation and will audiences choose to focus on the profound sense of "blowing it" or will they simply delight in all the pretty colors, cornrows & nipples?