The Bling Ring Review

The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring kids – what a bunch of self-obsessed narcissists.

So let’s give them their own film.

I do love the back catalogue of work Sofia Coppola has built up over the years: Lost In Translation, The Virgin Suicides, Somewhere; she does an awful lot with very little, does Coppola.

Her new flick is based on Nancy Jo Sales’ Vanity Fair article, The Suspects Wore Louboutins, which unravels the actions of a group of moneyed, fame obsessed Californian teens who invaded the houses of various celebrities and robbing them while they were out of town.

The collective became known as The Bling Ring, hence the name of Coppola’s film: uber stylish, uber confident, and totally selfish and self-obsessed kids.

And man do they love celebrities, brand names, and livin’ it large.

Coppola’s direction is confident and energetic, perfectly capturing the speed and vigour of this youth culture. With the exception of Emma Watson and Leslie Mann, the main cast of Katie Chang, Israel Broussand and Claire Julien are all relative newcomers, who portray their characters with suitably mouthy, self righteous panache.

In a film where celebrity and celebrity culture are the theme, having such a well-known face as Watson’s present felt ironic, only it wasn’t. I almost expected to see a quick image of her appear in one of the many celebrity photo-montages that kept occurring, as an in-joke and found her presence a tad jarring.

And, as always with a Sofia Coppola film, the soundtrack is worth a mention; featuring Sleigh Bells, Kanye West and M.I.A, it’s hip, young, fast makes for excellent listening.

As much as I feel there’s a lot to praise about The Bling Ring as a film, I find its’ existence a little irksome.

The actors’ real-life counter parts, who I don’t want to name as they’ve had more than enough media coverage, have done nothing worthy of merit or respect.

The Bling Ring

Yet they are celebrities now, famous for being famous and have pretty much joined the ranks of the folk they once idolised and stole from.

So their actions have at once ruined their reputations, and made them as well.

The culture of living life online, celebrity worship, brands, unearned cash, an easy steal; these things have value for a certain breed of contemporary youth.

The Bling Ring themselves had copycats before they were caught, when rumour started getting around.

Their narcissim brought them down, it was the kids’ boasting on social networking sites that got them nabbed, but also brought them up to the level they found so attractive.

Their behaviour at once has people shaking their fingers in their faces, but also making movies and shows about them; so is it any wonder they’re messed up.

Kind of confusing to have the media both disparage their robberies, and feed the obsession that resulted in them in the first place.

Coppola’s The Bling Ring is skillfully made, well written, amusing, beautifully shot, and captures modern youth culture perfectly.

But I can’t help but feel it only encourages the kind of behaviour it highlights as foolish.

EJ Robinson

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Dates ‘n stuff

July 2013