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THE BLING RING (review)

bling_ring_ver2THE BLING RING
Written and Directed by Sofia Coppola
Starring Emma Watson, Leslie Mann and Israel Broussard
 
Rebecca: Let’s go shopping.

I know what they say but I think there is definitely a point in which you can actually have too much stuff. I just don’t think society as a whole has reached that conclusion just yet. Perhaps after seeing Sofia Coppola’s latest film, THE BLING RING, they might start to open to the concept though.

THE BLING RING, easily Coppola’s best work since LOST IN TRANSLATION, brings the true story of a fascinating crime spree to the big screen. Between October of 2008 and August of 2009, a group of teenagers burglarized several celebrity homes in the Hollywood Hills before they were arrested. They made off with more than $3M worth of clothing, jewelry and cash but it was never about the money.

Coppola tells this story very frankly. And while it does touch on some of her favorite themes, from excess to ennui, she has finally found her focus again, telling this story with clear purpose and direction. THE BLING RING is not quite an attack on material culture and celebrity obsession, so much as a sharp critique and warning of things to come.

Despite already having perfectly adequate and comfortable lives, these kids, played by   new faces, Katie Chang and Israel Broussard, as well as more recognizable faces, like Emma Watson and Taissa Farmiga, have an insatiable need for being noticed. The best way for them to do that is to naturally emulate the celebrities they love. This is if course taken to the next level by then stealing their clothes and hanging out in their homes. They never see it as stealing though; for them, it is just like shopping.

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So much of this story seems unbelievable but it happened. Paris Hilton was robbed 8 times and yet never noticed because she has too much stuff to begin with. And why the likes of Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan don’t have alarm systems is beyond me. All the same, in our current information climate, it was very simple for these kids to find out when they were out of town and where they lived. They never even had to break in because there was always inevitably one window or door that was still unlocked.

The robberies become an addiction and the longer they went without getting caught, the more cocky they got about it. Coppola’s screenplay, which is based on a Vanity Fair article, is smart not to simply focus on what these kids do. It doesn’t seem like stealing because no one notices anything is gone. And why shouldn’t they have what everyone else has anyway? Coppola never glorifies their behaviour and never justifies it either but she does suggest that they are somewhat caught in a vicious circle where having stuff is what defines you.

Most of the real life “Bling Ring” gang ended up serving jail time for their crimes. And as we all know, serving time these days can only lead to more fame and fortune. Even more still if THE BLING RING takes off.

4

Your turn!

How many sheep would you give The Bling Ring?

 

2 Comments

  1. I think I’m gonna love this film. Great review! And huh I’m jealous – won’t see it before July.

  2. I’ve kind of been obnoxiously ecstatic about this film opening this month. Coppola has always been a huge hit or miss for me, but something about this source material was intriguing, and you defined why that is so perfectly:

    “THE BLING RING is not quite an attack on material culture and celebrity obsession, so much as a sharp critique and warning of things to come.”

    Great review!!

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