The Bling Ring (2013)

The Bling RingIsrael Broussard stars as new student Marc, a young fashionista who after a difficult first day soon strikes up a friendship with Katie Chang’s queen bee, Rebecca. After a spate of thefts that culminate in the burglary of Marc’s friend’s house while he and his family are out of the country, the duo decide to target the houses of high-profile celebrities whose movements can be easily tracked — and their homes cased — on the internet. Following a few early successes, they are joined by fellow students Nicki (Emma Watson), Chloe (Claire Julien) and Sam (Taissa Farmiga).

Back in 2008, a spate of burglaries were reported in which the houses of celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan were targeted by a group of kids dubbed “The Bling Ring” by the local media. Sophia Coppola first heard of the story when it was featured in a Vanity Fair article titled The Suspects Wore Louboutins, quickly purchasing the rights and getting to work on a script. She even managed to talk Hilton into letting them film in the very rooms where the original crimes took place.

Although playing the sort of vapid, entitled wannabes who crop up in reality television shows such as The Hills and Made In Chelsea, the cast are clearly relishing the opportunity to do so. Broussard is the most successful in fleshing out his character, as his Marc is the only member of the group to question the morality of what they are doing, while a retrospective interview allows him to explore his character’s motivations. Chang, meanwhile, cuts an icy but compelling sociopath, and Watson overcomes a patchy American accent to entertaining effect. It is the latter’s The Secret-obsessed mother (played knowingly by Leslie Mann), however, who makes the biggest impression.

But while The Bling Ring is very entertaining, it feels like something of a missed opportunity. Coppola has gone to great lengths to keep her script as close to the real events as possible (to the point of recreating some exchanges word-for-word), but while there is undoubtedly some perverse joy in watching Hermione Granger talk utter rubbish about shoes it does robs the film of any real social commentary. Comparisons with Spring Breakers are inevitable, and while The Bling Ring might be the more enjoyable of the two, as a satire it is nowhere near as scathing, serving only as a stylish re-enactment.

It is a great story with enormous potential, but unfortunately the resultant film leaves much of it unrealised. There are only so many times you can watch teenagers rob Paris Hilton, and after our second visit to her “nightclub room” it becomes painfully apparent that the film is content with simply showing the characters pilfer and party. There may have been enough here for a magazine article, but the film seems — perhaps fittingly — a little empty.

3-Stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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