Nobody does modern ennui and character study like Harmony Korine. Following his cult debut Gummo with its unrelenting depiction of a desolate America via a tornado-stricken Ohio, Spring Breakers is a pastiche of dream-pop poetry and a moody study of the search for the meaning of life set in modern day Florida.

Good girl Faith (Selena Gomez) has been friends with bad girls Candy (Vanessa Hudgens), Cotty (Rachel Korine, Harmony's wife) and Brit (Ashley Benson) since grade school. Bored at college, they anxiously await their spring break vacation but are short on cash. Candy, Cotty and Brit decide to rob a diner and from there, loot in hand, the girls head off to Florida, where pastel scooters and all manner of bikini-clad debauchery await. After a police bust lands the girls in jail, they're bailed out by sleazy local drug peddler/rapper/arms Alien (a wonderfully bizarre James Franco, sporting an assortment of braids, tattoos and garish jewelry). Faith is obviously unnerved by Alien, but the other girls gravitate toward his wealth and outlandish displays of machismo, as well as the impending danger that he represents. Soon enough, they get unwittingly sucked into a turf battle between Alien and a former friend and mentor, having wild sex at the pool and doing all sorts of naughty things good girls ought to stay away from.

Like Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation, Spring Breakers comes replete with an ingenious soundtrack (the scene where Alien and the girls go on a robbing spree set to Britney Spears’ ballad “Everytime” is pure cinematic majesty) and visceral visual poetics courtesy of master cinematographer Benoit Debie (Irreversible). But at the heart of it all, it is an affecting, disquieting and biting commentary on contemporary America; its excess, violence, shallowness and inevitable nothingness. Unmissable.


Terry Ong
Editor's Rating: 
Opening Date: 
Thursday, May 2, 2013
Spring Breakers
Running Time: 
1 hr. 34 min
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