At some point in virtually everyone’s life they have wished to be famous and have everything that comes with it – stylish clothes, trendy accessories and a following so large you’d think you were untouchable. But the (sad) reality is that not everyone can attain such a posh lifestyle – that is, not by conventional means. The characters in Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring” are not only a testament to society’s obsession with big-name, A-list celebrities but an example of the risks some will take to look, feel and even be like them even if they have to steal their way to it, one Prada bag at a time.
“Let’s Go to Paris Hilton’s. I Wanna Rob.”
The film is based on the real-life string of celebrity burglaries which were executed by Hollywood teens and the article covering it in Vanity Fair. The players in this ring are Nicki (Emma Watson), Marc (Israel Broussard), Rebecca (Katie Chang), and Chloe (Claire Julien). These four friends idolize celebrities such as Adriana Partridge, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, to name a few, and when they realize just how easy it is to acquire the addresses to the aforementioned stars’ homes online, decide they too want a taste of the rich life. What follows is exactly what you think – robbery on an extravagantly stylish scale.
Live Fast, Die Young
The film’s biggest selling point is also the film’s biggest flaw; the entire film consists of the four friends planning and executing each robbery in such simple ways you’d wonder why more people don’t join their fun. Because it’s illegal, that’s why. While each individual robbery nets the group new clothes, jewelry and at one point even a Porsche convertible, not once do they ever think that they may get caught for what they’re doing and have to eventually face a harsh penalty for their actions. Throughout the film, it’s only Marc that really grounds the group in reality by constantly reminding them that they should stop what they’re doing but the fact that he continues to join his friends on their escapades of thievery proves that he really is all talk and no walk. Even after a surveillance tape of them ransacking Orlando Bloom’s mansion is released, this does nothing to intimidate the group as they brush it off and get back to the grind.
The film is presented in a very clean, clear, and almost air-brushed style as a way of accentuating the lavish lifestyles at the center of this caper piece. Unfortunately, the film never really shows more than what you’d expect as there’s not much depth to the story besides the robberies themselves, which, to be fair, becomes predictable as the film progresses. There’s also not much depth to the group either, as each character is essentially the same as the last, which is spoiled, snobby and shallow. I must, however, give a special nod to Emma Watson as she finally seems to be breaking out of her ‘Hermione’ image as her performance in this film proves that she can convincingly play a role opposite to the strong and intelligent one which defined most of her career thus far.
While “The Bling Ring” is an interesting study into society’s obsession with celebrities, it never really sheds much of its glittery exterior. And its many avenues of exploration and exposition into what it really means for some to “feel rich” never really become closed. The film’s end doesn’t really offer much closure either and you never really get the true feeling that the group has learned anything from their experiences. Yet, despite all that, the film is worth seeing as it’s not only a societal study but a cautionary tale as well.