Written By: Matilda Davidson
There’s no way to describe a movie like Spring Breakers without sounding either totally pretentious or scathingly critical. So for all those who aren’t being paid for a concrete opinion, there is a third position to take on this movie (generally the most appropriate one).
What the @#&* was that?
Among sighs of relief and incredulous laughter, these are usually the first words muttered by audience members as the lights come up. And even the high and mightiest critics have agreed with these sentiments.
Here’s the story: Four girls, sick of their deadbeat college town hold up a restaurant and use their winnings to charter a greyhound bus down to St Petersburg, FL. Upon their arrival they partake in all sorts of illicit behaviour and gush about how this will forever be the best time of their lives. At one particular party, though, they’re arrested for possession of hard drugs and detained overnight. Luckily, they are bailed out the next day by a loopy rapper/drug dealer named Alien (Franco). He takes the girls back to his stomping ground and shows them in all his gold-toothed and cornrowed glory the “American dream” that he’s living complete with weaponry mounted on every wall, cash laying in casual stacks around the house and shorts- in every color. Needless to say, he loses a few groupies on the way. What follows is a chronicle of the remaining characters playing a hallucinogenic version of “happy family”.
Now before you go scratching your heads over that awful description, it should be made extra clear that this isn’t a movie about the adventures of impressionable college girls in the party capital of America. Nor is this a movie about the dangers of illegal drug use and drunken debauchery. In fact, I can almost guarantee you will hate this movie until you hear it’s true intention from the visionary himself.
During the post-screening Q&A at the film’s premiere at TIFF this past month, director Harmony Korine stated in not so many words that the film was meant to be a purely sensory experience.
So that explains why the first five minutes of the film is high definition shots of beer-bellies and neon bikinis prancing about to the musical stylings of Skrillex. While you’re trying to understand what it all means, you’re too busy wondering how someone could have drugged your non-existent drink and made you feel like you were on a horrifying carnival ride that you couldn’t get off.
Needless to say, by the end of the movie, once the trance has been broken and you start to ponder how you just spent the last hour and a half of your day, you’ll probably be inclined to throw your box of Glosettes directly at the screen for what it’s put you through. But rest assured that if you ever had any interest in heading south for a Spring Break adventure- you won’t anymore.