Spring Breakers is a film that surprised me. When the film came out, I was a senior in high school. It was a piece of cinema that was to depict what every teenager dreamed of doing in the town I grew up in. I hadn't seen it, but based on the music and the nudity that everyone had been buzzing about, it was just another movie about college students wanting to party.
After viewing, I am absolutely sure that. The aesthetic that is so repetitively shown throughout is one that is resonant in music videos. The crowded spaces of Hot in Herre by Nelly, the over-the-top glamour elements of Moment 4 Life by Nicki Minaj, and the sexualization of the stereotypical young girl in Baby One More Time by Britney Spear all fit together in the space of this film. Popular culture is challenged in Spring Breakers because of how prevalent all of those themes are in society today. It seems otherworldly at first glance, but from the early 2000s forward, it isn't strange to have naked women in every shot with drugs and alcohol in the foreground. Harmony Korine's vision for such a mood permeates the film in every frame. From the casting of Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Selena Gomez, who both served as Disney Channel stars or stars catering to a younger audience very recently before or during the making of this film, to the clear 'bad girl' image that is meant to be received from spending spring break in Florida. It is the essence of destroying a pure image and dismantling it with something much darker.
Korine shows the influence of popular culture as one that provides perspective. This is the progression from being bombarded with images of illicit activities and wealth. It is an untamed desire to have a life like one in a music video. With no real inhibitions--with money as the main motivation.
From my personal research of critical review, I can tell that it was meant to be just as beautiful as it is naughty, commenting on the phenomena of being a product of the visual space of the music industry.
As bizarre as it seems, it is very well done.
If you want to watch a film that will interest you on an artistic and aesthetic level, look no further.
--Christa Young, Student in Film Studies