On July 5, 1946 the Bikini was introduced to the world. It was then popularized on film by Bridgette Bardot in the 1950s. And now in 2013 it has reached its cinematic peak.
Spring Breakers is a movie about four girls bored with their own life who go so far as to stage a robbery (in a beautifully shot scene) to get enough money to spend Spring Break in Florida. But what its really about is the emptiness and shallowness of excessive lifestyles. Or perhaps its a warning against our “grass is greener” mentality and that things don’t necessarily get any better, and sometimes get worse, when we finally get the things we wish we had.
This theme is emphasized in the James Franco scene where he is showing off “all his ****”. Its purely shallow and materialistic stuff that he thinks makes him worth something. So what if he has shorts of every colour? It is also emphasized in the fate of the four girls. Grace realizes that she was wrong about Spring Break and ditches early, which is troublesome since she is the conscience of the group, and with her gone you know it wont bode well for the others. It takes a bullet for Cotty to come to this realization. But the other girls end up becoming empty shells of people, and this desire for excess has killed their souls.
Despite the subject matter, this is not a fast moving film. Director Korine tells the story with lots of cut images and whispered, repeated dialogue. Its like Malick, except with tits and ass instead of trees and grass.
My main problem comes from this storytelling method. Its not that I mind non-traditional narratives, but the repeating dialogue gets very tiresome (even though I realize that it fits thematically) and even though its 90 minutes it feels like it takes forever to get anywhere. I would have also appreciated more dialogue between the girls to focus on their thoughts on everything.
The strengths in this film come from the visuals and James Franco’s Alien. Franco has created a very interesting screen character. His flaws in his philosophy of life are evident, but he is charismatic despite the fact that you’re not really sure whether or not to trust him.
But although Franco’s great, the highlight of this movie is the cinematography. Particularly the colours. The screen is filled with neon hues and glows everywhere, and they are calibrated just right. And even though it may sound facetious, the girl’s bikinis are a major feature in this movie. They are given colours that pop and stand out against everything else in the frame. Its also bizarre to see them in locations like a courtroom.
These sorts of visuals may seem shallow and flashy, but that’s the point. This world and this lifestyle is shallow and flashy, and while we’re exploring this world we may as well be treated with this on the screen. It feels much longer than it should and it is not for everyone, but for those who are willing it is a bizarre journey.