Movie Review: "The Bling Ring'" Feels Gaudy

the bling ring 1Sophia Coppola’s latest film, “The Bling Ring” is proof of everything that’s wrong with our society. Bad parenting, teenagers overdosing on technology and social media, celebrity obsession and the media’s capability of turning revolting personalities into stars. With a soundtrack filled with bands even trendier than her husband’s Phoenix, Sophia Coppola creates a film that celebrates this ‘based on actual events’ tale about a group of teenagers that decide to break into and steal over $3 million from the homes of a throng of A-list celebrities instead of degrade it.

This innate drawback stems from Coppola’s decision to continuously show the Hollywood ‘Bling Ring’, composed of the fresh faced Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Claire Julien, and Taissa Farmiga, repeatedly breaking into celebrity home after celebrity home. The young cast is never really given the opportunity to show off their true acting ability because they are too busy stealing Louboutin shoes, Rolex watches, and Chanel purses from celebrities like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Orlando Bloom.

the bling ring 3In a sense, these repetitive break-in scenes galvanize the gall and tenacity of these teenage burglars. They almost always take place with a pulse-pumping techno or alternative rock song blasting away in the background, and serve to show how air-headed and obtuse most celebrities are when it comes to their day to day lives. Apparently, all it takes to break into Paris Hilton’s house is Google Maps, DListed.com, and the house key she always leaves under her doormat.

After the first Paris Hilton housebreak, it’s still possible to see where Coppola was trying to pry out the irony of the situation. Paris’ house, which is actually used in the movie, is cavernous. It is the epitome of gaudy Hollywood, and exemplifies the notion that some people simply own too many things. But after the fourth…fifth…sixth time Paris’ house is broken into, I began to wonder if Coppola was actually beginning to embrace the icon’s lifestyle instead of frown upon it.

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According to the writer/director, Nancy Jo Sales’ 2010 Vanity Fair article, which this film is loosely based on, intrigued her because, “there were so many great elements [in it]: teen burglars,

Hollywood nightlife, and audacious break-ins.”  Unfortunately, by choosing to make a movie that is mostly comprised of extended, ultra stylized home break-ins without any humanizing drama, this self reflexive film about the corrupting effect of Hollywood excess ends up lost in translation—and no, I am not talking about Coppola’s 2003 Oscar winner.

For more on 'The Bling Ring', head to www.theblingring.com.

By David Morris 

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