The Bling Ring – A Review

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I was thoroughly excited when Sofia Coppola’s latest film The Bling Ring was finally released in cinemas. Alongside Kathryn Bigelow, she one of my favourite female directors. The Bling Ring sees the famous director once again put her unique stamp on a series of high profile celebrity robberies that occurred in 2009, otherwise known as the ‘Hollywood Hills Burglaries.’  Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival this year, the film was met with favourable reviews from most critics who praised Coppola’s style and take on the stranger than life events.

The film is a fascinating ode to youth and their attitudes towards the celebrity obsessed culture that we’re currently living in; using the guise of a group of privileged and unstable teenagers criminal actions, Coppola realistically portrays and exposes the lengths some are prepared to go to, to get a glimmer of fame (and a whole load of stolen goods and money along with it).  In 2009, a bunch of spoilt and negligently parented teens with a celebrity obsession figured out a way to burgle the LA homes of rich and famous people like Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom and Megan Fox and took goods and cash amounting up to almost $3 million. They simply used the internet to see when a particular celebrity would be away, went to the house and found a way in.  Some were burgled several times (it’s not exactly going to be hard to break in if you leave your house key under the mat, Paris Hilton), and an aspect from each of the crimes was carefully documented on the groups Facebook pages.

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The film puts you right inside the dens of celeb-worship that the group so desperately covet ; for the burglary scenes Coppola actually uses Paris Hilton’s home (which is an incredible place of self worship) and both herself and Kirsten Dunst  have cameos in the film. This raises the point as to whether this makes a mockery of the crimes or simply tells us that the celebrities don’t take themselves all that seriously. Either way, it works for the film, giving us an eerily realistic insight into each of the (beautifully decked out) crime scenes. Like all things, however, it eventually comes to an end, when the group are exposed via security footage and some of their peers (well, they did brag about the crimes all over the place). The social media profiles that they so rely on add to their undoing with the glamourous photos and selfies becoming cold photographic evidence for the authorities.

This is an ideal topic for Coppola; her impressive back catalog of work including The Virgin Suicides and Marie Antoinette often sees her take a sympathetic look at dysfunctional teenagers, and while she doesn’t condone their actions in the film, she does show us how they have become products of their own fame-obsessed environment, which does make the viewer feel a certain amount of sympathy for some of them towards the end. What struck me was the emptiness of the group; they didn’t even seem to think what they were doing was all that bad or that they were committing criminal acts; they simply saw it as a strange form of flattery that they should go around imitating their idols wearing their clothes, bags and shoes. It was to them, merely a bit of fun and a chance to be a part of the glamourous world of celebrity. And that was ultimately all they cared about until their game was over.

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Regarding the style of the movie, there is something almost hypnotic about the way  Coppola’s camera carefully follows our ‘protagonists’ around; the cool stillness of the camera carefully documents the events, and eagerly follows them with as much nervous excitement as the group themselves. The film is very well acted; the cast includes a hugely impressive Emma Watson as burglar Nicki, who plays a rather air-headed American with such conviction that you almost forget she ever went to Hogwarts.

In the end, I loved it. It’s classic Coppola (with a great soundtrack) and definitely gives the viewer a fascinating insight into the lengths some will go to, so that they might get the chance to shine as bright as their idols. It resonates more with a second viewing, and though it won’t impress all her fans, she’s well and truly left an impressive stamp on another piece of her work.

Check out the trailer below:

What did you think of the film? Would you go and see it?  Did you love it or hate it? Tell all in the comments!

Comments

  1. I went to see it last week. As the Coppola fan i am i was with great expectations towards the film. Well this time the film didn’t live up to the expectations and it was for me -and by far- the less entertaining movie from her so far. Do not get me wrong, I liked the film, its not bad, But its just watchable. Its not a great movie, nor a movie that i would buy. Its just a hollywood movie unlike the rest of her work. That being said, its true that it shows to perfection the perils of the superfluous life we tend to found ourselves, how dangerous could it be for low-selfesteem people and how easy is for them to get caught into the “wrong path” and -what’s most scary- how there’s people that KNOW how to play the game and took advantage of it. Emma Watson is outstanding (whenever you get to HATE -or fully develop any other strong emotion towards- a character in a movie, it means its not only a well written character but also a great played one.)

    It wouldn’t be fair to call it a dissapointment but it kinda was too focus on the luxuorious goods, designer stuff, bling blings and stuff like that instead of the getting to know the character (like you do in Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation or Somewhere). I would put it more aligned with Marie Antoinette but the aesthetics there were outstanding.

    What about “Frances-ha”? Its opening today on IFI. i’ll be waiting for a review, that and “Breath in” seem to be whopper!

  2. Jennifer says:

    I agree with many of your points. It’s not her strongest film by far, but it most definitely has her firm stamp on it. And yes, it was a much more lighthearted topic than she usually goes for, but I thought there were more good things about it than bad. It most certainly is similar to Marie Antoinette in that the aesthetic of the film is very beautiful, but the dialogue and plot are weaker in comparison. Thanks a million for posting your thoughts! 🙂

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