Archive for June, 2013

Spring Breakers (2012)


Harmony Korine’s Trash Humpers (2009) was one of the weirdest movie experiences of my life. Not so much because of the weirdness of the movie itself, but because even though I didn’t give it a favorable star rating (and still wouldn’t), I admired its uncompromising commitment to the found-footage concept that amplified both the creepy and funny moments, and made them linger in my mind for days, something that would make most thinking people contemplate the purpose of star ratings.

When I heard Ruben Östlund, in my admittedly narrow worldview one of the greatest directors alive, at a Q&A explain that Korine’s directorial debut Gummo (1997) was the film that made him realize that it’s OK to say “fuck you” to every rule of cinema out there as long as you do it interestingly, I eagerly downloaded it to set myself up for a new series of strange and pretty images. It was basically a more poetic version of Trash Humpers. It wasn’t until I saw the bland Mister Lonely (2007) that I started to fear that the future masterpiece that Gummo and Trash Humpers held tiny promises of would never arrive.

Then came Spring Breakers.

By the turn of the millennium, when gangsta rap videos had just developed their now classic aesthetic of slow-mo and expensive cinematography (though the themes were as old as humanity: Drugs, weapons, naked girls – everything required to have a good time), it was love at first sight for me (Actually, I’ve been trying to turn all kinds of projects into gangsta videos for the past decade. People usually react by looking like they feel sad for me). But while I was never sure if these videos were deadly serious or meant for laughs, Spring Breakers is constantly both without flinching. Just like David Lynch has a true love for 1950’s Americana that people insist on calling ironic, Korine loves gangsta imagery, neon and Britney Spears hits relentlessly, including the ridiculousness of it all. In Spring Breakers, logic and story is secondary to what looks and sounds cool. Every once in a while comes a movie that is so visceral and progressive that you have no choice but to get hypnotized for 90 minutes, every new scene showering over you with both unpredictability and obviousness, giving you no time to start digesting it until the credits start rolling. And what beautiful credits they are.

Oh btw lol, I invite every hipster journalist who’s not at ease with their own love of this film, making them push it as a critique of body ideals and internet culture, to consider the fact that Korine, 30 at the time, met his wife, Spring Breakers star Rachel Korine, when she was 17.