Published in the Gaudie, Spring 2013
Jean-Luc Godard claimed that all you need for a movie is a gun and a girl. With Spring Breakers, director Harmony Korine twists this well-worn cinematic trope into what is essentially a lurid, hallucinatory, 94-minute music video. James Franco is charmingly grotesque as a sleazy hustler philosophising on the American Dream of late-stage capitalism (“I got my dark tanning oil! I got my machine guns!”) in grills and canerows, and his Graces of inspiration take the form of four bored, filthy-mouthed, fluorescent bikini-clad college girls (who love only money, partying and each another). They are Bratz dolls possessed by the spirit of Patty Hearst, robbing a chicken shop using squirt guns in order to fund an escapist party holiday by telling one other to “just pretend like it’s a video game, like you’re in a movie or something.”
The camera glides lecherously over exposed young flesh, the music is aggressively shallow and futile; everything is lascivious and soulless, loud and brightly coloured. This is the Tao of Britney and Skrillex, a fervent spirituality of nihilistic, Day-Glo hedonism. Using a mixture of glossy Hollywood actors, ex-Disney starlets, rappers and porn freaks, Korine moulds a freakily microcosmic entertainment ecosystem. Maybe it’s the siren’s song of bright and shiny futility which will be the death of our generation, but I’ve never wanted a pink unicorn balaclava more.