The Bling Ring


Now I know this movie came out in 2013, but let me explain. I feel like this film has gotten a bad rap and I just don't understand why! When I saw it in theaters, I was so moved by it that I'm pretty sure I was learning forward, trying to get as close to the screen as possible. But most everyone else I talked to absolutely hated it. And to that I say - you're wrong! And now I will tell you why.

First, a little context

The Bling Ring is a film by Sofia Coppola, one of my favorite directors who has also done Marie Antoinette, Somewhere, and The Virgin Suicides. It follows the true story of group of teenagers who commit a string of celebrity robberies in Beverly Hills. The leader of this gang is Becca, who enlists new kid misfit Mark to assist her in several car robberies and then breaking and entering into an acquaintance's house. They steal the family's car and drive off to spend their stolen money on Rodeo Drive.

Becca and Mark bond over their shared love of celebrity fashion and lifestyle. This shared obsession with celebrity leads them to break into Paris Hilton's house and start pilfering her designer pieces. They soon attract the attention of their friends Nicki, Chloe, and Sam who want in on the action. The gang descend into a blur of break ins, resales, drinking, drugs and partying. 

Here's what I loved about this film

Sophia gets it right on mood. The soundtrack, the colors, the photography - everything is hyped up and flashy on the surface. But, there's a hollow undercurrent to everything the characters experience that speaks to the futileness of their celebrity dreams. They were never going to get to that lifestyle by robbery, but you really believe that they were deluded enough to think that they could.

The photography on this film is so gratuitous - the lushness of the shots draws you in. When the camera pans over the tables of jewelry and the gorgeous fabrics and rows of shoes - you start to understand the appeal of it all. It's hypnotizing.

The soundtrack is a collection of rap, club beats, and atmospheric tones punctuated by silences. These moments of silence are some of the most poignant in the movie. One scene that has stuck with me is Rebecca, finally in Lindsey Lohan's home, sprays herself with Lindsey's perfume in slow motion. The shot is dark and she stares at herself in a mirror with a crazed empty eyed expression. And for the first time it all feels profoundly sad.

The actors did an amazing job in this film. It was exciting to see Emma Watson in such a different role and in my opinion she pulls it off spectacularly. And though the kids get caught in the end and sentenced, it doesn't feel like a heroic moment for the film. Instead, I felt sad. Sad that they had got so caught up in a dream that we all harbor - to be wealthy, admired, loved - and it drove them to extremes that we're all capable of at some level. You don't like them, but you understand.

If you've given The Bling Ring a pass, I would suggest looking again. I would definitely be interested to know what you thought of the film if you've seen it. Do you agree with my assessment? Let me know!

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