Spring Breakers (2012): Movie Ending, Explained: How do I normally make a sandwich? Well, I shallow fry the ham slice a little, then caramelize the onions, take a board where I carefully put bread slices, and spread a measured amount of mayonnaise on them before assembling the sandwich following the same order every single time; bread, cheese slice, ham, onion, bread.




The reason for me randomly bringing this up is the question that popped up inside my head during my recent re-watch of Harmony Korine’s “Spring Breakers” – How would Korine make a sandwich, if he even makes one? Unlike me, he would probably fry the ham and onion together, put the bread slice on those, flip the whole thing over, then throw in the other bread slice. Or he might just go for an open sandwich, who knows?

High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

The point is Harmony Korine is an acquired taste. I cannot really say that I am a fan of the man and stand by everything he does, but I do acknowledge the extremely erratic, liberated style that he brings into filmmaking. Whether that works or not is completely up to how you view it or where your head is at. What I can tell is Korine is probably not your thing if you believe a proper screenplay and story to be the foundation of a movie. However, if you look at things like imagery, sounds, techniques, and the overall craft rather than just the narrative, then your experience of Korine’s cinematic world may be very different.




Spring Breakers is probably Korine’s most popular as well as accessible work, which just completed its ten-year anniversary and landed on HBO Max. The sun-kissed tale of four young girls going to Florida on a Spring break and then descending into the neon-drenched world of drugs, money, and madness rightfully features in the BBC’s 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century list. To be perfectly honest, explaining what happens in this movie in a usual straightforward fashion is not exactly an easy thing to do. But here I am, taking a swing at it anyway, because why not?

Spring Breakers (2012): Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis

Life doesn’t move for college girls Brit, Candy, Cotty, and Faith in a dead, small town of America. They yearn for a better life where they can feel alive. The prospect of an upcoming Florida trip during Spring Break, for which the four of them are saving money, is possibly the only thing that keeps them going. But when the time comes, they realize that they don’t have nearly enough for the dream they have been harboring forever.




As desperate times always call for desperate measures, fuelled with cocaine-high, Brit and Candy rob a local restaurant with Cody as their gateway drive. Faith, the most naive among the four, is horrified to know how her friends got the money; but the calling of Florida is too hard to ignore for her.

Under the Florida sun, the four of them have the “time” of their life thanks to all the beach parties they attain, the new people they meet, and the new places they discover while riding around the time in their rented scooters. Cutting through the narrative, Faith’s telephonic conversation with her grandmother about how happy she is and how liberated she feels only emphasizes the fact of how much these girls needed this kind of grand exposure.




Things take a really sour turn when the group gets arrested at a party and spends the night in jail. Their stay in prison is pretty short-lived, though, as they soon get bailed out by a really wacky-looking James Franco, playing a guy called Alien who happens to be a bit of everything from a rapper to gangster to both drug and arms dealer and every other possibly bad thing. The self-proclaimed “bad boy” Alien, aka Al, takes the four of them under his wings and easily charms his way into Brit, Candy, and Cody. But Faith is not impressed and has had her fill of “days of living wild” already, and soon goes back to the life that she left behind.

But the other three don’t seem to have any problem while seamlessly getting integrated into Al’s life. As Al flaunts his wealth and arms in his mansion while describing the quintessential “American Dream” in possibly the most well-designed scene of the movie, the girls skillfully take his guns and put two of those inside his mouth. That, however, turns the man on, and he basically ends up blowing the gun and professing his love for the three, which eventually leads the four of them to fall into a strange but very much believable relationship dynamic.




High On Films in collaboration with Avanté

Spring Breakers (2012): Movie Ending Explained

Who is Archie, and what does he want from Al?

Trouble in paradise is how I would describe Archie, aka “Big Arch.” For a man like Al, a life without trouble is not exactly fitting, especially if you consider painting the town with his stroke of armed robberies with his three paramours while Britney Spears’s “Everytime” plays in the background.

Al’s former best friend and now rival Archie does not take these things well and threatens Al; in a manner of marking territories. Of course, that cannot really bother someone like Al, and he does not seem to take it seriously. Unfortunately, Cody faces the dire consequence of it as one night Archie shoots her. Cody survives, but it seems like the bullet has not only wounded her, it has taken the “wild” out of her and she heads for home.




What happens to Al, Brit, and Candy?

With Cody gone, all that is left is the trio of Al, Brit, and Candy, who plan revenge on Big Arch for what he did to Cody. While Al seems to be visibly scared, the girls seem pretty much unflinching.

In scenes intercutting the climax where the three waltz into Big Arch’s estate, we see Brit and Candy talking to their home over a phone call, vowing to return and “be better.” However, Al is immediately shot dead by one of Arch’s guards. That cannot stop Brit and Candy from going through with what they came for, and they do that with style.




Eliminating whoever comes into their path of glory, the duo reaches Arch, coddling himself with a bubble bath while getting aroused by looking at his two women doing certain stuff. There is no prize for guessing what happens to Arch at this point. The duo leaves in Arch’s red Lamborghini, but before leaving, they don’t forget to put two kisses on Al’s dead body.

What does it really mean?

I’m sure a lot of us asked ourselves the question after watching the movie. Despite the story being fairly simple, the way Korine presents it to us makes all the difference and sets it apart. The haze we are put under sort of blind us from things right in front of us, which are never uttered in words but are pretty much felt throughout the movie.




The result is a stimulating experience, almost like a drug trip, but at the same time a thought-provoking one as well as you eventually realize that there was actually a lot happening. Because every single character, including Al, who has self-destructive tendencies, is nothing more than a meticulously concealed and, I must say, very relatable plot device. Not to mention the urge to break free of the mold we are stuck inside, as well as the “high” of wildlife wearing off eventually, is also something this generation, including yours truly, can pretty much relate with.

In many ways, Spring Breakers feels like looking at us young people that can be found around us every day. The character of Al is most likely a representation of breaking free of the life we have and doing everything that we wouldn’t do generally. The name “Alien” seems fitting enough as he is really an outsider to the regular life that we have constructed for ourselves, the society we have put ourselves into. Whether Spring Breakers work for you is something that only you would know, but if you are figuring out life in your late twenties or early thirties like me, then viewing or re-viewing Spring Breakers might just help a little.

Also, Read: The Beach Bum [2019] Review – Freewheeling Poetry of the Excess

Spring Breakers (2012) Movie Links – IMDbRotten Tomatoes
Spring Breakers (2012) Movie Cast – Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, Ashley Benson
Where to watch Spring Breakers

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