Spring Breakers

Spring Breakers ★★★★★

I'm just gonna take a plunge here:

Interview after interview, segment after segment, Korine uses the words "liquid narrative" to define the fluidity through which the story (not plot) of his latest film unfolds.

I've seen the film at least half a dozen times now, and I think it is safe to say that my love for this is immeasurable. Borderline unhealthy and arguably not conducive to me as a filmmaker, at all. It's like when you watch something that is (to you) so great, so meticulously designed, so resonant – an experience, to say the least – that is ultimately irreplaceable. Boom. It's done. You can't make this. You didn't make this. You can 'take,' from it what you will, for your own creative endeavours, but it will never be this. A painful thought. But one to accept. One to embrace, actually. Do you ever watch something – tv, film, an installation, any sort of consumable 'art' – and think "I am one step closer to dying happy, knowing I saw this?" Yeah.

I've read a number of negative reviews and surprisingly, I can read them without turning into an aggressively defensive asshole. It's not everyone's film, sure, I can certainly accept that with no hesitation. Actually, it's not most people's film. There's no rigid structure, it's unconventional in what might be considered the most frustrating of ways. Actually, "It's like ten music videos back to back," is what I remember one of my old classmates saying.

Which begs the question, why do I love it so much? Why do I get goosebumps at times, watching it? I mean, the acting isn't incredible. The writing/improvisation doesn't beg to be worshipped, analyzed. You know, a lot of people often put a thick guard up in front of the film when people bash it, with the number one argument being "You didn't get the satire?" Sure, fine. I think it can be argued to be a satire in several different ways. Casting, writing, wardrobe, design, marketing. But I have trouble accepting Korine's overt use of the word 'satire,' in his pitches or anything remotely related to the film. I think it turns into one, upon distribution and the viewer's consumption of the film, but I think the film/story could very well function as the director's pursuit of fantasy. (Fantasy vs Satire in Spring Breakers could be a real explorative paper!) The dreamlike structure, the way the viewer floats between time, space, imagery – I think he's toying with the viewer and this entire subculture of youth, by grounding them and raising them up, over and over again. The film soars and dips quite a bit.

Spring Breakers is a cinema craftsperson's wet dream, on steroids. Can you imagine being passionate about production design, and getting to tackle this one? Or wardrobe, cinematography, lighting, picture editing, coloring, sound editing, sound mixing, composing, all of that. In this film, each of these crafts really serve to carry and support this liquid narrative. We see pieces of the future before the future rolls around. We dwell in the past, before register what is happening in the present. And Korine (although I'm sure its safe to say this production is a highly collaborative one) heavy-handedly uses a number of visual and audible clues to transfix the viewer. Honestly, the music and sound design really push the film for me. What is lost in the performances is powered through by the sound and editing. And again, sure, one can argue for the satire behind the performances. But, like The Bling Ring, how long are we going to let satire stand tall in front of mediocre acting? In my eyes, stronger performances could potentially boost the satirical element Korine is striving for. But, everyone is still fine and good. No one is really awful. Another thing that is lost on me from time to time is the way Gucci Mane slips into the story. It never feels motivated to me, and so I always am a little too conscious of the film starting to adhere to structure and 'plot,' by that point. But, I can see past it.

I love Hudgens, Rachel and Benson in this, a lot. Hudgen's really overplays it, but something about it is very magnetic and charming. Her high pitched squeak during their pool sex scene (and blowjob scene), her whole 'all this money's making my pussy wet,' and her deaf iteration of 'do you wanna fuck me?' are all gold to me. She harnesses this really drunk, funloving nature of Candy. Rachel plays things a little more seriously, and proves to be a nice balance. I have a particular liking to her saying 'what do you do? like, for a job?' and 'why? cause you're a little bitch' when she's telling that fratboy he can't get her pussy. And then Benson just sort of evens things out by sort of playing a mix of the two. I love the scene where they're reenacting the robbery in the parking lot. And the scene where Franco is basically using his lips to ravenously massage Benson's tongue. The film's ability to slip into different tones is outstanding, and sound lends itself to a lot of that. The symbiotic relationship between Cliff Martinez and Skrillex is a very innovative way to play with the diametrically-opposed tones expressed in the film. Actually, maybe the film is all about binary oppositions. This is really interesting.

I'm sure people will continue to reference it as brilliant satire, a milestone in the era of Malick's filmmaking and Coppola's ruthless heroines. It's a gem to me. If it were strictly shallow, I wouldn't get uneasy chills watching Faith realize where/exactly how the money has come into their possession in the parking lot. If it were flat, I wouldn't feel worried for them aimlessly standing around, as if on display, in the traphouse. And if there was no value, then I definitely wouldn't dream or aspire for progress or change to be made in the two of their lives after the big heist. It's how you see it and how you choose to believe it. I hate to say it because it sounds like motivational ridiculous shit, or like, film-viewing instructions, but I think being open to the characters can (re)contextualize the film in many ways. I can attack it from different angles and glean different things.

Spring Breakers is an essential viewing for the decade. I'm not sure I can imagine people over the age of 35 enjoying the film. It's absolutely contemporary, and will resonate with a lot of twenty somethings. It would be surprising if the film came from any other 40 year old man. But not from someone who's experienced the culture(s) pretty head on from the core. Spring Breakers. It's a push forward, for better or for worse. Call it a music video, call it a series of vignettes, character studies, explorations in cinematography, color, mood – call it whatever. But just be sure to watch and experience it as willingly and openly as you like.

Should I be everyone else and end it with "sprang break fo'evvvvvvva' or nah?

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