A Coppola lives with diverse views of fame. Sofia—daughter of Francis Ford, cousin of Talia, and nephew of Nicolas (known as Nicolas Cage)—is a Coppola, too; and she knows too much about the other side of fame. Her films often portray rambunctious side of fame—tedium, boredom, and deviation of celebrities—as seen in Somewhere and Lost in Translation. The Bling Ring is something else; it portrays youth obsession and angst towards fame and popularity.
This based-on-actual-event film introduces audiences to a group of LA teenagers within their obsession of celebrities’ glam-and-luxurious lifestyle. The members of Bling Ring find pleasure in robbing celebs’ houses and celebrating their robberies. Led by fame-obsessed Rebecca (Katie Chang), the group drags quiet Marc (Israel Broussard) and spoiled Nicki (Emma Watson) into Paris Hilton’s or Lindsay Lohan’s or Megan Fox’s houses to grab their luxurious bags and shoes and stuffs. Simply saying, these five-piece young spirits are addicted to their obsessive burglary; meanwhile, their obsession goes out of control, a new generation of fame-obsessed culture is born.
It’s been almost a year and this film just pops out in the local cinema… and I’ve just watched it. I’ve been knowing from critics and articles that The Bling Ring might be the lamest of all Sofia Coppola’s recent films, yet, that doesn’t mean that it deserves nothing. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with this film, only it lacks of morality and character development. What we see here and there is frenetic character studies that go shallow. Each character is described with label that goes with them for the whole film. Watson’s Nicki might steal the most attention in her portrayal of a wild fame devotee; especially, with her manipulated behavior on a Vanity Fair interview to create a notorious persona who craves for popularity. Meanwhile, quiet Marc, portrayed by Broussard, is a label of remorseful guy. His character makes distinctive persona than his other mates. Nonetheless, Watson seems to be prematurely ready to portray a bad girl of Coppola’s tedium, while other characters seem to be empty. Most of those characters in this film are as artificial as our glam cultures in this heyday.
The Bling Ring highlights an explicit picture of our modern culture—with the influences of internet and popular magazines—that actually reflects an utopian society. It’s a static overview of a carpe diem culture that satirizes the world’s current tendency. Hedonistic trend and high tides of self-satisfactory become too violent and sharp; when they’re covered with adolescent desires to be acknowledged, they’ve become a monster. That ideas might be superb, if only this film could exploit the perks of dramatizing the repetitive burglary and party scenes. Unfortunately, this film cannot encompass the climax of this satire during the most chaotic time. It provides a sharper and bitter ending that comes too fast, instead. It results in flat story-telling during the parts that can be suspenseful.
Had this film drummed up the drama in the right time, we can see a more solid irony, which is being honest. Nevertheless, The Bling Ring is still beautifully filmed and morally ambiguous. Needless to say, Sofia Coppola’s ambivalent trademark is still a decent attraction—in this film, it’s depicted through angst and obsession on celebrity’s glamorous life. It’s still a thoughtful film, but it feels less Sofia Coppola, after all.
The Bling Ring (2013)
Drama, Crime Running Time: 90 mins. Directed by: Sofia Coppola Written by: Sofia Coppola, Nancy Jo Sales Production Co.: American Zoetrope, NALA Films, Pathé Distribution Starred by: Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien