Spring Breakers is an insane meandering masterpiece

You don’t even need to see Spring Breakers to know that indie provocateur Harmony Korine has captured the zeitgeist on an all-encompassing level. Look around you — it’s the sort of thing that’s permeated countless hip thinkpieces trashy rap sites and the crass mainstream commercialism of fashion blogs.

Post-ironic rapper Riff Raff is beefing with James Franco for allegedly stealing his look. Gucci Mane drew headlines for falling asleep through his sex scene thanks to a full day of chainsmoking blunts. Former buddy Waka Flocka Flame has also been publicly feuding with Gucci over a rumoured love triangle with former Disney star and Bieber ex Selena Gomez. Fellow Disney alum Vanessa Hudgens is promoting her new curse word-heavy EDM single “$$$ex.” Meanwhile Ashley Benson is fending off Franco romance rumours and donning goth garb for Aritzia while Rachel Korine (Harmony’s 26-year-old wife) is gaining accolades for her break-out performance.

Britney Spears has tweeted praises for the use of her music in the film while Skrillex just might have legitimized the bass drop with his tasteful soundtrack contributions. Vice is hyping up the ATL twins sex-loving brothers who add silent perversion to the film while sleazy entertainment shows are discussing hot-or-not outfits on the film’s red carpet.

All of this for an art film disguised as a sordid booze ‘n’ boobs romp. Harmony Korine has always been attempting to capture America’s seedy underbelly and Spring Breakers is his crowning achievement.

The film’s loose often abstract narrative follows four disenfranchised college girls looking for an escape from their small-town existence and they’ll stop at nothing to have a wild debauched week in Florida. They succeed in getting their kicks but not without a night in the drunk tank. Then James Franco’s rapper/drug dealer Alien (who for what it’s worth only carries a superficial resemblance to Riff Raff without any of the real-life rapper’s pop cultural references) bails them out and brings the party to a whole new level of sketchiness.

Spring Breakers is a cautionary tale with no moral compass; a sensory overload of extreme hedonism pushed to the edge. It’s also an expressionistic tone poem with whispered overdubs all existential meandering dialogue and slow hi-res shots of naked nubile bodies frolicking on the beach. Think Terrence Malick directing a Girls Gone Wild video.

It’s also a balls-to-the-wall action comedy offering emotionally detached violence and crime without consequence a real life Vice City. Need more? There’s also a short exploration of Godless American Christianity and to round things out a fucked up love story.

Of course the real question is whether or not the film’s actually good. Unfortunately it’s such a pop culture oddity that it’s almost impossible to determine its quality on a traditional scale. Spring Breakers is at once meaningless and meaningful a self-aware expertly shot disaster. By encapsulating America starting a million conversations and existing on its own as a frustrating and satisfying work of art however the film is an absolute must-see.

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