The Bling Ring

Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga

Written by: Sofia Coppola and (based on the Vanity Fair article “The Suspect Wore Louboutins” ) Nancy Jo Sales.

Running Time: 90 mins

Cert: 15

Release date: 5th July 2013

Sofia Coppola’s much talked about film The Bling Ring is finally here, a simple tale of simple folk stealing off other simple folk in a small town called Los Angeles. The thing is you might think I’m joking but when it comes down to it, I’m not sure who is the dumber; the empty-headed greed-mongers who published their ill-gotten gains on social networks, or the celebrities they stole from and who seem to have no idea about security. Either way, Coppola’s film is about as vacuous as the airheads who committed the crimes.

Marc joins a new school and meets Rebecca, who instantly befriends him. The pair become inseparable, shared by the love of celebrity and fashion. Rebecca then comes up with an idea after breaking into the house belong to a friend of Marc: they should check to see if celebrities are out of town, find their address and break into their houses. Paris Hilton becomes the first victim and while Marc worries about getting caught, Rebecca is more interested in stealing dresses, shoes and jewelry so she can brag about it to her friends online and in a club. Soon the pair are joined by Nicki and her half-sister, Sam and rich kid, Chloe. How long can the group get away with their burglary habits and will they become as famous as their idols?

Based on an article in Vanity Fair, this fact-based drama should have been an interesting insight into the minds of teenagers who don’t want to work for the American Dream, they just want to take it from those who somehow had the dream laid out to them on a plate. Instead, Coppola, who we know is a reasonable director, as proven in Lost In Translation, actually gives us a repetitive and tiresome film that doesn’t answer any questions whatsoever and doesn’t even condone their actions.

So we get scene after scene where these middle-class suburbanites, who already live pretty decent lives, break into home of the rich and shameless (Hilton’s house including a dance room and photos of her on her pillows!), say “Wow!”, “OMG!” and other less than original phrases while raiding their wardrobes, then heading to clubs where they drink and take drugs while photographing themselves showing off their wears.

The film only gets interesting when they are finally caught and how each of them handle the press attention. For these final few minutes, the film changes pace and you wonder why Coppola didn’t focus on this more.

The performances are, well, there. It’s hard to actually comment when all you find yourself watching are, what could be, rejects from some American teen drama on TV. Only the now seasoned professionals of Emma Watson and Leslie Mann inject any real life into the film. Watson, as Nicki, knows that you do as little as possible for most of the film and then when you get the chance, you deliver and once she is caught, Watson comes into her own as she goes for full fame and fortune. It’s fun to watch her grow from the slightly annoying kid actress in the first few Harry Potter, to an actress that can steal a film right under the noses of an ensemble cast. To be honest, it’s not that hard.

Leslie Mann also gives an enjoyable performance, as Nicki’s New Age religious mother, who home schools her girls on inner beauty, giving them  Adderall and praise with them. It’s a nice comic turn in a film that takes itself far too seriously.

There are flashes of Coppola’s obvious cinematic eye. A sequence in which Rebecca and Marc rob from another rich wannabe’s home, filmed in long shot as we witness them entering the house and working their way around the glass palace is a high point. The possibilities are endless but Coppola seems only interested in making a hip, too cool for school drama with a banging R&B soundtrack and no character development because they get in the way. Well it left me cold and longing for another director to make a film about Emma Watson’s character relationship with her mother. That would make for a far more entertaining film than this.

2/5

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