Spring Breakers Screen
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Spring Breakers

2012

Spring Breakers Poster
  • Whether walking around at night with skin exposed or demanding authority while in that same state of undress, the girls delegitimize patriarchal privilege. Korine’s band of heroines saunters in front of the camera but give its gaze as much control over them as they give Alien. That is how a film starring four young women in bikinis subverts the trope of female bodies as sites of experience for others. Spring Breakers pumps you with a full erection only to laugh at your boner later.

  • The fact that the pieces of story scattered across Spring Breakersare not strung together in a clear straight line, but as the cracked shards of a mirror, is, finally, very much the point: the pleasures of the dream life cannot be neatly separated from its ugly underbelly, nor, at this point, can the lives we live from the cultural kool-aid we imbibe.

  • In both content and form, then, Spring Breakers represents a departure and a new direction for Korine. He has replaced the stochastic assemblage logic of his early films in favor of something he calls “liquid narrative.” Korine spoke at length in the Toronto International Film Festival press conference for Spring Breakers of a desire to make a film of pure sensation, of very few words, a film that you would feel wash over you like a wave.

  • If Spring Breakers is a serious piece of art, and I’ll go ahead and say that it is, it’s because of its capacity to short circuit any of the assumptions that we might make about anything that wanders into its view ([Korine's] camera is nothing if not welcoming).

  • Innocence seamlessly slips into predatory ambition. Spring breakers forever so they are, finally at ease with the authentic nature of their nightmarish dream. The gangsta entrepreneur character represents their ultimate aspiration, an accomplished individual (“Look at my shiiit! This is the fuckin’ American dream!”) enjoying the luxury that successful businessman such as himself can afford.

  • Unfolding like a spiraling, intoxicated dream, Spring Breakers is a vision of American pop culture’s progeny running amok. It’s a surreal fantasy that ranks among recent cinema’s most memorable visions of Hell.

  • At once blunt and oblique, “Spring Breakers” looks different depending on how you hold it up to the light. From one angle it comes across as a savage social commentary that skitters from one idea to another... without stitching those ideas together. From another it comes off as the apotheosis of the excesses it so spectacularly displays... Mr. Korine embraces the role of court jester, the fool whose transgressive laughter carries corrosive truth. He laughs, you howl.

  • Heralded as Korine's most conventional, accessible film (mainly because of its cast), Spring Breakers may in fact be his most experimental. Particularly in the final third, working with the editor Douglas Crise (Babel), he achieves something close to a sustained psychotropic state. Time splinters into a subjective chronology of flashbacks and foreshadowing...

  • This is art-house maximalism with a tenor like poetry, an incisive and critical drama unafraid to relish and indulge in the subject it intends to deconstruct. You could call it "high-trash" cinema; it collects the cast-aside bric-a-brac of an ostensibly bankrupt culture—Harmony Korine operates here like some rigorously anthropological Katamari, rolling up anything and everything in his path—and transforms it into something earnestly, maybe even transcendently, gorgeous.

  • It’s all about phosphorescence. The insane glow of dorm rooms, lecture halls, nightclubs and pools, the light bouncing off the silver grill in James Franco’s idiot-shark leer. Sometimes it resembles an airhead’s slapdash vacation medley on YouTube, sometimes it suggests Hou’s Millennium Mambo. Brimming with bursts of pungent lyricism, it nevertheless makes me wonder how much of this aggressive, teeny gumdrop vacuity is being ironically sent up by Korine.

  • In Spring Breakers, Korine’s concerned with re-associating our world and reasserting an ancient connection mostly lost on contemporary US culture. The American Pastoral is not at odds with the crazy violence of America. It’s merely its most natural setting. In our myopic pop culture, that keeps our world neatly compartmentalized, Korine forces us to reckon with the true price of Paradise and the true nature of Ecstasy. And if we don’t like it, we’d do best to take the early bus back home.

  • I think that Spring Breakers is a fascinating experience... I would also say, however, that feminist objections with this film strike me as more or less on the mark. This is a heteronormative pornographic film; its pornography is both the root of its most brilliant formal strategies and its most obvious "structuring structure" yet it more than warrants feminist interrogation.

  • There’s something right here: the way that finance’s coldly erotic dream of money minted from pure desire must always rest uneasily on the brutalities and immiserations of the real economy; that the world is structured to preserve this fantasy of autonomy for its beneficiaries; that when the fantasy collapses, it is revealed not simply as illusion but as dependent on racialized violence.

  • Spring Breakers wears its artifice, its status as Korine’s inspired, ignorant fantasy on its sleeve. In doing so it asks that you consider not American History but Art History, after ‘90s rap videos and Wong Kar Wai’s gangster films, and before all we see melts into Internet as we see it.

  • Korine’s impressionistic flashes of dramatic action are brought together with evocatively blank glimpses of spring-break rowdiness in a collage that flashes forward and back as to evoke no one character’s memories or imaginings but rather a sort of abstract reverie that collects visual and sonic motifs into an incantatory swirl, like a music video based on a dramatic script.

  • The thing that makes this especially remarkable is that the young girls here aren’t victims, pulling off a gorgeous reversal that finds them reverse objectifying their potential pied piper (watching the pistol blowjob scene in a theater full of baffled teenagers was glorious, as was the way the scene perfectly engages the film’s intertwined notions of sex, consumption, and violence).

  • It all plays out in a final flourish of DayGlo Scarface wish fulfillment, and you can’t really believe what you’re watching. Alien—and Korine—tell us it’s the American dream come true, and even if you resist going there with them, the have-your-cake-and-fling-it-too stupidity is breathtaking. It takes some kind of cracked artistry to put coeds in hot-pink ski masks and have them twirl around to a Britney Spears ballad toting machine guns.

  • The wonderful surprise of Spring Breakers is that, while the film essentially delivers what you might expect from these stars and this filmmaker independently of one another, their talents and assets in combination creates something much weirder, deeper, harder to pin down and impossible to write off as "just" a goof, "just" the result of an art filmmaker exploiting stars to skewer the culture they represent, "just" anything.

  • Britney Spears, the film’s patron saint and “an angel if ever there was one” in Alien’s words, embodies the promise and the danger of that dream all at once. As often as it flirts with irony and nihilism, Spring Breakers is devoted to pop and cinema with an intensity that approaches the religious.

  • Korine gestures toward social criticism, but essentially this is just an hour and a half of bongs, beers, tits, and ass, thinly dressed as Natural Born Killers.

  • If Spring Breakers never cuts especially deep thematically or psychologically, Korine's impressionistic filmmaking style does occasionally pick up the slack, imbuing the situations with more pathos than they perhaps deserve, given how disinterested he seems to be on the level of characterization.

  • It’s partly a softcore “Girls Gone Wild” spring-break special, featuring formerly wholesome teen-oriented stars Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson and Vanessa Hudgens; partly an early-2000s episode of “Cops”; partly a deranged, expressionistic crime fantasy; partly a near-abstract study in Florida beachfront light, shot by ace French cinematographer Benoît Debie; and partly a work of James Franco performance art.

  • This is a director who’s always been great at using ugliness (urban or personal) as a vehicle for meaning. For all its uneven pacing and debatable cunningness, Soring Breakers is an energetic and formally daring effort.

  • Spinning a hypnotic, repetitive web of sound and images, Korine crafts a vision, not an argument, but a no less beguilingly weird (and occasionally repulsive) one at that.

  • This is a stratosphere away from Sofia Coppola's languid modishness, being a cartoon or more accurately an interlocking series of cartoons - the world of evangelical religion ("Pray super-hardcore!"), the world of hip-hop wiggas, the world of run-amuck consumerism... and of course the world of Spring Break, all gyrating bodies and big tits - all of which exemplify America, the governing principle being the William Blake quote about the road of excess and the palace of wisdom.

  • Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) are willing to steal, screw, do whatever in order to have a good time. And this somehow makes them the pragmatists, compared to pie-in-the-sky Faith. Hudgens, as we know, was the Disney It Girl. But, in addition to getting older, she had the misfortune (or the business acumen) of having nude cellphone pics leak on the Internet. So in a way, what Faith is, Candy was, and what Candy is, Faith perhaps will be.

  • It seems to me that Korine has little interest in analyzing American cultural mores and dramatizing their contradiction—he’d rather just have a highly polished laugh about it all, but one where he does just enough staring into the abyss to make you wonder if he’s asking you to be critical.

  • While this art film in mild exploitation-picture disguise doesn't exactly represent an out-of-the-park triumph, it offers sufficient pop-art pleasure and interestingly disquieting notes to be worth some not unserious consideration.

  • Typical of Korine’s utopias, it’s simultaneously beautiful and pathetic, and virtually indistinguishable from a dystopia. His characters’ quixotic beliefs that these manufactured utopias are imperishable or possibly imperishable are the source of an underlying pathos in all of his films.

  • Korine genuinely loves the amoral posturing of his bikini-clad, thrill-seeking co-ed protagonists, but eventually it all feels like too much of the same thing. "Spring Breakers" has moments as provocatively clever as Korine's better works, but its mainly attractive for its abundant superficial pleasures.

  • Many things pop out of Spring Breakers along with those boobies, but first and foremost this is Harmony Korine doing late Hou Hsiao-hsien (say, Millennium Mambo and Flowers of Shanghai) via Miami Vice (the TV show and the movie) and Girls Gone Wild (the DVD and the downloadable internet version), and it’s as intriguing but also as problematic as that sounds.

  • With respect to James Franco's cornrowed, grill-mouthed, award-worthy showmanship as Alien, the most subversive quality of Korine's zeitgeist-fellating, sunburnt cartoon of a crime comedy is that it wound up in mall multiplexes across America, but at least this overrated goof exists in the world.

  • Repetitively nihilistic, it’s a movie making predictable visual poetry — jacked-up neon lights at night, drugged-out partiers reaching transcendence through exhaustion — out of girls whose only viable aspirations for transcendence go no further than the worst week in Florida. That’s sad, but Korine’s beautiful losers are interchangeable, and his shockingly clunky third-act exposition punctures any ambitions for a death-charged dream reverie.

  • Even when the less-than-riveting performances serve the story, there’s a sense of cutting around the stars; the last hour feels like a simple get-rich-or-die-trying plot unnaturally distended.

  • Korine shouldn't be making features. Duration is not his friend, mostly because he then feels compelled to Say Something, and he has nothing to say. (If one more person mentioned the American Dream in this picture I was gonna set the theater on fire.) What he does have is a fantastic eye, along with a gift for the sensual that sits uncomfortably—at least for my taste—against his predilection for grotesquerie.

  • What about Spring Breakers, passionately recommended to me as something new and radical not only by several critics, but also by such sophisticated filmmakers as Carlos Reygadas and Keja Ho Kramer, and not as just another let-them-eat-cake and ultimately unthreatening (if doggedly puritanical) provocation crossed with kiddie-porn from Harmony Korine?

  • The tragedy is not the bumping, the grinding, the tits and ass, the bikinis and handcuffs, the caricatures of hip hop thuggery, the girls gone bad. The tragedy of this film is that it’s boring. Teens, rather than being introduced to novel trouble-making, will simply recognize the familiar: Grand Theft Auto-style ballistics, booty shorts, and threesomes ripped from Jersey Shore. Disney princesses flaunting their middle-finger attitudes, just as Lindsay Lohan has done for a decade.

  • Watching the film, I couldn’t help but feel a disconnect between the Korine of our collective wishes (the one who’s our stylish ambassador to self-destructive youth culture) and the Korine onscreen—the one with the purposely impoverished aesthetic who reifies rather than imaginatively reappropriates that culture in a different, though equally preening, register.

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