The Bling Ring – 2013

Written & Directed by Sofia Coppola
Starring Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, Georgia Rock, Emma Watson, Leslie Mann

The most striking thing about The Bling Ring is the ease with which the kids were able to move in and out of the lives of the rich and famous.  In a time when Hollywood reaction to paparazzi bounces between compulsion and revulsion, no one seemed to notice a group of college kids going into and out of the side door, sometimes using the key under the mat.  It reminded me in part of when a group of my friends used to wander out at night on sleepovers.  We would wander around the neighborhoods, occasionally seeing someone else having a party that we were not part of, but that was it.  Little did we know how much trouble we all could have been in.

We did not live anywhere near the money and opulence as the kids in the bling ring.  We never had the audacity to violate someone’s private residence or property.  We had a fear of getting caught.  We had no occasion or want to do drugs.  That is an important difference between what gets you to have Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter make a film about you and a sentence of working 40+ hours a week for the rest of your life.

The gap between the opportunity of this story and the execution is significant.  The story told is more a series of images of people obsessed with image.  The painting of the kids is that of school as a last option.  Some of the parents are flakes, some are barely there.  None of these kids ever seem to spend a night at home, you know, sleeping.  And their parents seem so surprised when their kids get booked.  Out of this is an attempt at gray humor.  I say gray because it’s not sharp enough to be black humor.  There is blatant attempt to play Watson’s character off as some sort of humorous kook.  It’s such a failure, it makes me question her range.

It’s amazing that these kids could, with a modicum of intelligence and the ability to use Google, boldly invade the lives of so many within the TMZ culture.  None of these people are interesting enough to know, and thankfully, because of Coppola, we don’t have to waste our time getting to know them.  The cinematography is drab, and very wiggly, almost like someone is holding a huge camera for a very long time and getting a bit shaky in the process.  I think this might be a style thing.  It’s not enjoyable either way.  The best thing she got is this:

This is the only thing I will remember from this movie.
This is the only thing I will remember from this movie.

If you want the story painted in the broadest strokes possible, this will do.  If you want more, I recommend Google.  When I used it, I found these pictures for the real perps of this crime.  While none of them were gross, not one of the ring looked anywhere close to their cinematic doppelgangers.

The real bling ring. No models in sight.

(** out of *****)

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