The Bling Ring

Film review:

Film Title: The Bling Ring

Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Taissa Farmiga

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 90 min

Fri, Jul 5, 2013, 13:00


If we were minded to be cynical, we might suggest that pointing out the vapidity of contemporary celebrity culture is akin to discussing the tallness of basketball players or the dryness of deserts. These things don’t really need to be said.

Moreover, the conceit in The Bling Ring is simultaneously too obvious and too implausible. A gang of young Californians – obsessed with celebrity for its own sake – stroll into the unlocked homes of novae such as Paris Hilton, parade around in their shoes, lounge in their themed party rooms and leave with wads of petty cash. It just wouldn’t happen.

You will, of course, be aware that it did happen, and that Sofia Coppola’s latest characteristically hip entertainment hugs the true facts closely to its stylishly outfitted chest.

Official Trailer 'The Bling Ring'

An uncertain Emma Watson plays one of several young people who decide to work through their obsession with empty celebrity by invading their idols’ homes and “borrowing” their most voguish garments. Show-business websites and social networks make them aware when the houses are empty.

The gang get away with it for a while. But eventually they are arrested and – Rupert Pupkin, would you were alive today? – gain their own unhappy class of celebrity (something that is, in their minds, indistinguishable from notoriety).

Few directors are better at conveying psychological disconnection, and Coppola – still struggling to recover the form of Lost in Translation – has some fun getting to grips with the beats and colours of Angelino life. The Bling Ring begins with a blast of noise pop and a clutter of images that seem drawn straight from Facebook. One glorious bravura single take follows the gang from outside as they move in and about one of their victim’s houses.

However, rather than being simultaneously appalled and excited, this half-formed picture lurches violently from disgust to guilty approval and back again with tedious receptiveness. Towards the close, as the participants embrace their horrid infamy, we do reach a kind of moral stability.

If the performances had been a little more consistent (the least said about Ms Watson, the soonest mended), The Bling Ring might even have ended in something like triumph. As it stands, the picture feels like a modestly competent sketch of a subject that doesn’t warrant this much attention.