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Spring Breaking in Hell

Spring Breakers makes me relieved that I never went to Panama City or any other teen resort town in Florida for my spring break. Like promised in its promotion, Spring Breakers takes an unabashed look at the behaviors of college youth when they have the mindset of spring break as a vacation from reality and consequences altogether. The film features four college friends, Brit (Ashley Benson), Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine), and Faith (Selena Gomez) who wish to escape their dull lives and travel to Florida for spring break, but they all have no money. Their solution? Candy and Brit commit an armed robbery which gives the girls plenty of cash to have the spring break of their dreams. Brit, Candy, and Cotty all depict today’s American culture of immediate satisfaction and the actresses deliver dedicated portrayals of the archetypical college slut.

However, Gomez’s character, Faith, a devoted Christian who also wishes to go on a legendary spring break, seems displaced against the other amoral characters. The film fails in convincing the audience why Faith would ever want to associate herself with the other girls in the first place.
Binge drinking, bongs, cocaine and other debauchery abound and the girls wish they never had to leave, until they get arrested at one of the drug-fueled parties. An unrecognizable James Franco as Alien, a white gangsta rapper with a prosperous drug trade bails the girls out, and that is when Spring Breakers goes from indulgent teen expose to a disturbing, gritty crime drama of sorts.

Spring Breakers may not be for everyone, but for the ones that do choose to see it, [the movie] will pull you in and spit you back out.

The girls travel with Alien to the underbellies of St. Petersburg, FL, where no spring breakers in their right mind have gone before. While Spring Breakers can be excessive at times, writer and director Harmony Korine refuses to hold back in his dialogue and imagery of this cultural wasteland and I appreciate his gritty realism. His choppy editing, use of flashbacks and flashforwards and extreme close ups are not unlike the style of director Steven Soderbergh (Haywire, The Limey). His post-modern editing matches the post-modern feel of the film; Spring Breakers is so current that it is unlike anything I’ve seen before and may even feel outdated in a year’s time.

Spring Breakers may not be for everyone, but for the ones that do choose to see it, it will pull you in and spit you back out. You may be tempted to wash your eyes, but James Franco’s eerie phrase “It’s spring breaaakkk” will reverberate in you for a long time afterwards.

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