watchlist #2: spring breakers

Spring Breakers, 2012

I have to say I only watched it because a friend asked me to figure out whether I’d like it or not. I don’t think I would have watched this film if it was only up to me because (1) I had no faith in it when I saw the poster and (2) I had even less faith when I saw the leading cast. Yeah, I judged the thing before I even gave it a chance. I am not completely sure I changed my mind about it, but let’s get into it.

poster

poster

To be honest, I don’t really understand the whole ‘spring break’ thing – not being an American student and being reasonably sane – but I tell you that after this film, the expression ‘Spring fever’ became pictorially self-explanatory. In Spring Breakers four friends who want to escape their miserable life and dead-end city dream of going to Florida and having the best spring break ever. But they are broke, so three of the girls decide to rob a diner to get the money. They succeed, of course, and go get some crazy fun at the beach until they are arrested for using drugs at a party. They are bailed-out by a rapper-dealer named Alien (James Franco) and that’s when things really start to spiral.

I have mixed feelings about this film because I am not really sure if it stands for a moral approach to the situation or whether it is a statement of how fun that kind of life can be. I am not even sure if I should care about it or if it matters at all. The thing is that Spring Breakers makes sure that we understand how obsessed those girls are with having their dream break, with having fun and freedom no matter what it costs. The sequences of being-crazy-on-the-beach-under-the-sun ensure an almost trance like state on viewers, filled with boobs, crotches, booze, and humping. The down side of paradise is what had to be done to get there: ‘a bad thing’ as Faith (Selena Gomez) puts it, but soon forgiven and forgotten because the dream came true.

When Alien comes around, the dark side of Paradise City hits the lights: bad neighborhoods, drugs, sex, guns, all there and at one. Seduction is in the air, but Faith is not so sure. Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Brit (Ashley Benson) and Cotty (Rachel Korine) are head over feet over it all. Candy and Brit are, dangerously, almost the same person: they are interchangeable and display a wicked connection of minds. They seem to be only ones who truly and deeply enjoy the live-on-the-edge lifestyle, even if this live-on-the-edge is quite pink pony like, somewhat unrealistic and sweeter than what I picture living with a drug dealer in real life may be like.

James Franco's Alien

James Franco’s Alien

The drug dealer himself is quite a figure. James Franco delivers a monstrous performance, even if he is not that gruesome gangster he pretends to be. Personally, I think Franco is the best thing in the film and the scene where he sings ‘Everytime’ by Britney Spears at the piano as a lullaby while the girls dance around with their huge guns is probably very controversial, yet the best sequence in the film. The delicacy of the song as Britney’s voice takes over and the violence the images render are opposites, but have the strange effect of making it all almost dream like, a serenade of violent behaviors. In fact, this thing of the ‘wrong’ song is very common in cinema. Read more here

I suppose what really bothers me in Spring Breakers is the lack of consequences for the actions the girls commit. They are young, beautiful, reckless, and unpunished. That is why I tell you that I don’t really get if the film is telling us ‘hey, look at the amount of crap that may happen when you live like that’ or if it is saying ‘hey, don’t worry, see how great it all turned out?’ I also wanted information on what happens to Faith and Cotty who eventually go back home. Overall, I think Spring Breakers is one big trip fueled by hot girls with blank eyes, drugs, and some kind of live I can’t quite grasp.

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