Film Review – The Bling Ring (2013)

The Bling Ring

Title – The Bling Ring (2013)

Director – Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation)

Cast – Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Leslie Mann

Plot – Based on a true story, The Bling Ring focuses on a bunch of rich youths lead by Rebecca (Chang) and her gay BFF Marc (Broussard) and their exploits of robbing the rich while they are away and stealing millions worth of clothes and accessories. The obsession with celebrity taken to the extreme and the disconnection of youth mixed in a sun lit cocktail.

“Let’s go to Paris. I want to rob!”

Review by Eddie on 9/10/2013

There are some very sad things to say about The Bling Ring. Two of the most prominent points here being this was cinematography great Harris Savides last shot film. Savides was DOP in such classics as Zodiac and Elephant and here in The Bling Ring provides the film with its trump card in its impressively shot LA vistas. The other prominent sad point here is just how bad The Bling Ring is.

It’s not hard to see why Sofia Coppola was drawn to this downright bizarre yet true story of a bunch of spoilt brats who over the period of months continued to rob and pilfer the rich as they were out partying or other such A-list activities. Such “celebrities” as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Rachel Bilson were all targeted by this motley crew setting up a ripe narrative to explore why these thieves did what they did, to bad The Bling Ring offers up no insight or understandable backing behind their actions.

The Bling Ring perhaps like the youth depicted here feels disconnected from reality and the story unfolds at a fast yet somehow slow moving pace where not once does the audience feel in any way connected to the group or have any real interest in there criminal exploits. Scenes go on and on with them pronouncing “WOW” and “OMG” as the try on outfits, wear high heels and put on lipstick. It’s clear Coppola wanted to go for the here and now of youth behaviour but everything feels overplayed and extenuated to a point of complete fabrication.

If The Bling Ring didn’t look so darn pretty and feature an upbeat and tempo filled soundtrack it would be a complete and utter disaster. It’s hard to see what Coppola wanted from this film and it’s pretty clear from its lukewarm to cold reception it didn’t connect with either the critics or the youth that it obviously thinks it’s got down pat. Like the group it depicts The Bling Ring is nothing more than a flash in the pan, a quickly forgotten piece of history that achieved nothing and had no reason to do so in the first place.

1 and a half Channel bag’s out of 5

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33 responses to “Film Review – The Bling Ring (2013)

  1. This has been a big year for films critiquing celebrity culture. Have you seen Brandon Cronenberg’s (David Cronenberg’s son) Antiviral? It is innovative in some ways, but I fear an ultimately lackluster critique.

    I will probably see The Bling Ring, but it looks like it is trying (unsuccessfully) to do what Spring Breakers nailed perfectly.

  2. You make some really excellent points in your arguments against this movie. The lack of any character development or the main theme about youth exploiting celebrities while they themselves are bing exploited by the media are very hard to see. Yet watching it a second time, I got the joke more. The teens in this are not in any way meant to be admired, but Sofia didn’t want us to laugh at them either. They are just like a lot of teens now. They want the celebrity lifestyle without doing much, just like the celebrities they admire so much. The story could have improved by showing how the media had a hand at turning these thieves into celebrities when they really are not. Great review.

  3. Have to agree with what you say about Bling Ring. Really bad film. Disappointing from Coppola who I usually like. The trouble lies with the extremely unlikeable characters I think. And that fact that the film just seems to repeat itself over and over again. Seriously, why would you want to break into Paris Hiltons house ONCE, let alone three or four times!

  4. Very fond of your blog, the reviews are brilliant from both of you! I would be extremely happy if you wouldn’t mind checking out my blog which is also film reviewing and give me some tips on what i can improve on? Thanks and again, great blog!

  5. Definitely agreed on this take. I was quite looking forward to the film, but aside from looking and sounding gorgeous there’s not a whole lot to recommend it. A big disappointment for me.

  6. For a while there, I thought that Lost in Translation would continue to make up for Coppola’s performance in Godfather III, but no. To be fair, I have not seen this movie, but my lack of interest in Paris Hilton is only exceeded by my lack of interest in a bunch of teenage girls who were so obsessed with Paris Hilton that they stole from her. Coppola clearly inherited a LOT of talent from her father, but she has yet to find a great subject and a really good script. Maybe she will. Her dad meandered a bit before he ascended to greatness.

      • Actually, her father has one of weirdest film careers ever. He’s made four great films: Godfather 1, Godfather 2, Apocalypse Now and The Conversation, and just on the basis of those four movies he deserves to be called one of the greatest directors that ever lived. Also, his highly idiosyncratic take on Dracula is pretty amazing, even if it’s not a masterpiece. But the rest of his career is filled with movies that are wildly uneven at best, and completely forgettable at worst. His daughter is talented like I said, I just think she needs to find some better material to work with.

      • Can I just add The Outsiders, Rumble Fish and Youth Without Youth as other works of significance? Especially The Outsiders; one of the definitive films of its type.
        Jordan

      • OK, fair enough, though IMO Youth Without Youth is debatable. Have you seen One From The Heart? It may not be the worst film ever made, but is one of the most bizarrely bad films ever made. It seems to me that Coppola is either over-reaching for the stars or phoning it in, and both paths are strewn with peril. But The Godfather is the only perfect movie ever made, so I will continue to see his movies as long as he keeps making them.

      • Love the comment on the Godfather mate, whole heartedly agree! I must admit to not even knowing of One From the Heart might investigate how I can get a copy to see what you mean. Cheers.
        Eddie

      • I guarantee you’ve never seen anything like it. It’s a mystifying experience that keeps getting stranger and stranger. Coppola was coming off of the successes of Godfather 1 and 2 and Apocalypse Now, and there was no one to stand in his way. One From the Heart serves as a cautionary tale about what happens when too much money collides with too much power.

      • I am not, BTW, trying to minimize the man’s contributions to film, which are enormous. Some people only have one or two great works inside them, and there is nothing wrong with that. Harper Lee had one great novel; George Lucas had two great ideas. Quality is always better than quantity.

      • No I can’t say I’ve seen One from the Heart, but I do agree with you on quality over quantity. Charles Laughton, one of the leading actors of his time, directed one feature film… and it will forever remain his lasting legacy.
        Jordan

  7. I have a completely different reaction to this film, which I happen to adore as a sibling effort to Coppola’s Virgin Suicides, Lost in Translation, and Marie Antoinette. I disagree in particular with the assertion that The Bling Ring offers “no insight” into its subjects. The causes of the delinquency may be implicitly rather than explicitly accused in The Bling Ring, but unhealthy cultural diet, empty entitlement mentality materialism, and dereliction of parental duty emerge as key contributors to the phenomenon. Here’s one fellow’s dissenting opinion: http://icareviews.wordpress.com/2013/06/30/the-bling-ring-12/

    • Very interesting dear sir – I would have to say you are somewhat in the minority with this opinion but that’s the beauty of film each to their own and as long as those feelings are backed up with some decent reasons.
      Eddie

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