Spring Breakers indulges in excess, showing us scene after scene of disgusting partying and moral depravity: women covering their bodies with alcohol as if it’s water, men snorting cocaine off their stomachs, smoking so much weed that it makes a chain tobacco smoker look like a novice, and people having sex with whatever moves around them. The movie’s a repulsive indulgence in horror of what our people can be, so it’s only fitting that Spring Breakers starts to be about something, and with the focus shifting to James Franco’s wonderfully brilliant Alien, the movie becomes focused. It’s an assured, strong film in its second half, making for a commentary on the American Dream and our wallows in excess, the idea of a vacation being permanent for some who care to do so. These characters are one-note, particularly Gomez who leaves the film halfway through (with a purpose, undoubtedly), and they merely act as vehicles to enhance their descent into madness.
These are monsters. They’re spring breakers, basically. And there’s a lot to be said about a film that continues to repeat lines, scenes, character motivations, you name it, with each getting a heightened meaning due to the changing landscape of the film. The movie wallows in sex, drugs, and violence, and Skrillex’s score is effective in creating an atmosphere, as are the sound effects that pervade transitions. The movie’s almost like an odd trance, one I wanted to leave at first: this is one of the only films in recent memory where I considered walking out about 20 minutes in. Franco changes the film, though, not into a great work of art, but a fascinatingly messy, compelling look at Americanism. That’s something I never thought I’d say about a bunch of bikini-clad girls robbing places to make money and live the American Dream.