The Bling Ring (2013) (R)


















"The Bling Ring" is just one of the many "true story" movies that have been released and consequently swept under the rug. Though it carried Sofia Coppola's name, this film disappeared as soon as it debuted and spent next to no time in theaters. Scorned by the critics and hated by the popular audience, I find myself shaking my head, wondering why I like "The Bling Ring" so much.
The film is based on actual events and involves a team of wannabe-celebrity teens, who take it upon themselves to minimize the space between them and the Hollywood stars.
Two of these teens, Sam and Nicki (played by Taissa Farmiga and Emma Watson respectively) are homsechooled by a mother whose religion seems less than normal. I'm not familiar enough with scientology to know whether or not that was the mother's beliefs. Whatever the name of her religion, the mother is oblivious to her daughters' night life. They go the clubs and party hard, not caring what gets shoved up their nose. They snort, drink, laugh, and crash.
But in the morning, they gather in a circle, join hands, and say their little prayers. Then for that day's lesson they will learn "life morals" or look at poster boards of Angelina Jolie while citing while she might be a role model.
We all get the feeling that these girls' education is lacking.
Then there's Marc and Rebecca (Israel Broussard and Katie Chang) and it's these two that get events in motion. Rebecca seems like the perfect example of a textbook kleptomaniac—she seems impulsively drawn to other people's stuff and sees nothing wrong with taking it. On one of their first nights out together, she takes Marc down the street and they open car door and riffle through what there is to steal.
Marc—who I think the film was trying to portray as gay without coming out (no pun intended) and just saying it...but that's typical of Coppola—isn't as eager as Rebecca is to steal; but he is easily talked into it. 
Coppola likes to engage her audience and not spell things out—but she slips near the end of "The Bling Ring" and we get a section that essentially says: "Hey! This is the moral of the movie!" I could have lived without those sixty seconds.
Both Marc and Rebecca want to be the step above the cool kids—they want to be idols. Celebrity-obsessed and fashion crazed, it doesn't take much to push them into burglary. 
The first house that gets robbed is Paris Hilton's and I wonder if the film was actually shot at Hilton's residence. Using the internet, they are able to learn when Paris will be out of town and then they go to her house—conveniently, she has a key under her mat.
Hypnotized by the amount of goodies that Hilton's home has, the dynamic duo (later self-referencially referred to as "Bonnie and Clyde) move onto more estates: Orlando Bloom, Lohan, and Megan Fox.
It's here that I think Coppola may have exaggerated her tale. It's hard to believe that these kids got away with as much as they did.
Then again, the use of archival footage and news clips (that are more than likely faked), lend the film a sense of—dare I say it—factuality.
Coppola is a talented director and with this movie, she reaffirms that. Nobody can deny that.
The story she tells could be a comedy, but I didn't find it funny. It's more of an observational piece about how fame and happiness don't coincide....yes, it's been told a thousand times; but I think I like this version better than most.
Coppola doesn't preach and doesn't let the camera linger longer than it should. Each shot serves a purpose. The soundtrack pulses with energy and the teens talk in an unbelievably dull way; but Coppola won me over by the end.
Sure, hyperbole might be used, but the plot of the movie was interesting enough to hold my attention all the way through. I was not bored at all by this movie.
Emma Watson has been getting all the praise for this movie, but she doesn't deserve it. Her accent fluctuates and she really isn't present in the film as much as others. Taissa Farmiga, who first impressed me on "American Horror Story", is really good here. 
Like Scorsese, there is a fall from grace...and how glorious it is! Obsession and madness overrun the camera...it's quite stylish and wickedly enjoyable.
This is the film that "Disconnect" should have been—it doesn't preach or beat the moral into you; but it is poignant and memorable.
I really liked this movie and I would go out on a limb to say that it's one of the best films of the year.








Score: 3 and a half stars out of 4

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