In 2008 a group of obnoxious, privileged L.A. teenagers decided that living so close to the rich and famous wasn’t enough, so they broke into their houses and took what they wanted to that they too could live the glamorous lifestyle. After more burglaries than you would ever expect, the group was eventually discovered and apprehended. Then Sofia Coppola thought that these kids would be the perfect subject for her latest movie, The Bling Ring.
Everyone remembers being a bored teenager. You had way too much time for the responsibilities you had and were left pretty much to your own devices. Most of us found something to do, but this group of kids decided that robbing Paris Hilton and several others was the ideal thing to do with their time. It’s not even that the robbery was the goal either, it was attaining that level of fame and notoriety associated with the products they were stealing to either wear or sell and buy equally ritzy products.
Sofia Coppola didn’t just want to tell the story of these deluded kids, that would have been far too easy. The Bling Ring story itself isn’t just about a string of robberies, it’s about the motivations behind them and she saw that. These are kids so obsessed with the famous that they would do whatever they could to emulate them. I’m sure their parents would have said they were such good kids, but they weren’t. These are the assholes you remember from high school whose whole lives were about being noticed just to have eyes on you.
As with any good piece with a message, it’s possible to completely overlook the contempt pointed towards the obsessions with celebrities. Sure, you get to see some glamor, but you also get to see the sadness and disconnect behind the eyes. That’s what makes The Bling Ring more than just an entertaining movie, Coppola shows us the motivations behind the actions and gives a definite statement on them. This would have been a fascinating character study had these characters not been real people.
Besides Emma Watson and Leslie Mann, the cast is made up of pretty fresh faces. With a cast made up of so many young and mostly inexperienced actors, it was surprising just how excellent the performances were. Israel Broussard and Katie Chang who played Marc and Rebecca, carried the movie. Chang in particular brought serious nuance to such a vapid character. With as much as Emma Watson was in the trailers, her contribution to the film, while not lacking, was not as much as you would expect. When she was on screen it was impossible to see her as Hermione, she is a genuinely talented actress that can easily surpass the role that made her famous.
I’ve seen quite a few movies based on true stories and for the most part, they use their basis in fact to tell a story meant to inspire or warn. This is the first time I’ve seen the truth used to make a point about our culture. The Bling Ring isn’t meant to simply entertain, it’s meant to highlight this disturbing obsession with fame and labels by bringing a ridiculous but true story to light. Sofia Coppola has done an excellent job at bashing what so many obsess and yearn over, and done so in a film that deserves to be seen.
In Theaters: June 21, 2013
Runtime: 90 min
Rating: R for teen drug and alcohol use, and for language including some brief sexual references.
Director: Sofia Coppola
Cast: Katie Chang Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Claire Julien, Taissa Farminga
Genre: Crime, Drama
Official Site: http://theblingring.com/
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