Spring Breakers is a passion play and a fairy tale, a cynical scream across the shallows, a whitesploitation flick, a trip, a send-up, a gonzo splash of earnestness enacted as amorality, a post-ironic irony of indulgence, an anthem to the twilight's eternal gleaming. It's a more faithful modern adaptation of The Great Gatsby than Baz Luhrman could have ever dreamed, and dream is the operative word here, one that floats through the incantatory voiceovers repeatedly, a word that can't help dredging up that tired, tattered, beloved phrase of nationalistic mythography: The American Dream.
And that's what's at the heart of this movie: the desires that rule our great nation: money, drugs, sex, guns. (What so proudly we hail.)
It made me think of William Carlos Williams and "To Elsie", from Spring and All. The pure products of America. Go crazy.
The movie puts its tongue most deeply into its cheek when pissing on the search for self, so here are some motivational posters I made for it:
Dreams and delusions. Opium and masses. Preachers, professors, and pushers. The world is full of pain and exploitation and murder and boredom and misery? Yes, we know, we know, let's get away from the lecture, let's party like movie stars and gangsters, let's sing together, let's feel all right, yes yes yes.
(A few will escape. The weary, the worried, the wounded. We'll watch them go. We won't follow them home.)
What's inside this movie? Waste, rot, and death. What does the movie do? It makes it all feel great. The colors are seductive, the rhythms hypnotic.
I never wanted to look away from the screen. I never wanted it to end.
Maybe we should remember that moment at the beginning of the film when all the computer screens in the lecture hall shared the same colors and the professor droned on about the feelings of war. It's a key moment, maybe the key moment in the film — we see the colors, we hear a bit of the lecture, but we never see what's actually on the screen.
Oh say, can you see?