Consider this: those born and/or raised
in the 90s have collectively experienced the most significant technological
leaps in decades. And now consider some of what materializes from this
technological leap: YouTube, Facebook, internet porn, smart phones, etc. Construed as something of a necessity amongst
those of my generation, those entering the world founded by Bush or Clinton have
experienced a collective worldview shift in the aftermath of 9/11. Isolation in
the aftermath of our Osama Bin Ladens, terrorist attacks, and Kim Jong-ils
appears to have been remedied through the our diversion in technology. Broaden
the scope of imagery perpetuated by technology, from music videos of the 90s to
the growing realism of video games, and one can perhaps garner a sense of the
cultural worldview adopted by Spring
Breakers - Harmony Korine’s pulsating candy-colored confection of the
In an opening sequence flushed in sunlight and beer, Korine frames a group of nondescript youths basking in something close to an orgy. This communal gathering serves to underscore some of the hushed, though obviously naïve, notions of what spring break entails. Of the four lead female characters in the film, it’s the on-the-nose named Faith (Selena Gomez) that complicates the picture most. Often heard through voiceover, Faith’s inspiration for going to Florida for spring break is to, well, experience something close to a religious experience. Media images inspire the notion that something of a spiritual awakening occurs when experiencing Spring Break. It’s something that Faith acknowledges and believes to hold true, even as she and her friends function as little more than gyrating slabs of flesh for other spring breakers to snort coke off. Her religious awakening hits something of a roadblock when she and her friends are arrested. The picture from here delves into something more reflective of how one can essentially prolong the spring break experience through financial liberation, all the while provoking the imagery and sounds of 90s era pop culture.
Korine skillfully constructs imagery of satirical heft though remains obtuse in the manner he stitches them together. Not so much an issue of editing, as the film functions fluidly and corresponds to the thematic elements of its material. The implicit racial and sexual concepts that Korine proposes operate in perpetual opposition. But the film, if anything, is a comprehensive look at the contradictions found throughout American culture, particularly when viewed through the perspective of those in privileged positions. In one of the more telling scenes of the film, Faith, after embracing her spring break lifestyle of excess, finds herself in an uncomfortable position when surrounded by black males. Repeatedly, she broadcasts her concerns on not knowing any of the men ogling her in her new surroundings – a contradiction provided that her previous safe haven was another communal gathering of unknown white males. Spring Breakers explicitly introduces audiences to a hedonistic world that they have accepted and embraced. Coursing through its candy-coated veins is a dark reality of how we have vicariously accepted a set of ideals of broad social contradictions.