The Bling Ring Review

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It’s the true story of some misguided youths and the troubles and stupidity they pursued… and then somebody decided that this was a good enough excuse (ahem, that there was enough material) to make a film.

The Plot

The Hollywood Hills burglaries – this film follows several high school pupils in LA with self-esteem issues, who went on a much publicized raid of top Hollywood celebrities and socialites’ homes. It also follows the aftermath as these kids seek their 15 minutes of fame, even if it means leeching off the fame of others. It’s brought to a pseudo head as one of the ‘Bling Ring’ ends up sharing a wing in prison with Lindsay Lohan – one of the celebrity victims of the burglaries.

The Target

Um. I suppose fans of Emma Watson maybe, or definitely fans of Paris Hilton, or Audrina Patridge – they’re not in the film, not really, but sort of are – they make an appearance, you know, people famous for being famous.

The Bottom Line

This film is depressing, and hard to watch. Mind numbing is another expression I’d use. I was constantly reminded of that meme with Futurama’s Prof. Hubert J. Farnsworth saying “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore”.

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Basically, it’s about shallow people, with parents who don’t take enough interest in them, looking for nothing more than status, fame and material gain through social networks and the obligatory club scene – with not a care in the world.

I’ve never been a fan of Sofia Coppola, she’s never truly convinced anyone with a major hit (unless you’re on the side of those who loved ‘Lost in translation’). This film is not art, nor is it good storytelling, in fact there’s little here to see why any director looking for a meaty challenge would even come close to it. Apart from Coppola, producers were no doubt looking for another ‘name’ to attach to this project, but needing someone in front of the camera, otherwise you’d have a bunch of unknowns running around – hence Emma Watson – but even her presence fails to elevate the product, barring some comedic utterances.

It’s not a good story – none of the characters are likeable or sympathetic and neither are their stupid actions (but I suppose that was maybe the point). So in effect you’re left with watching a bunch of kids you don’t care about, doing things you should look down upon, and not learning anything of substance in the process.

My regard for these characters started with not-caring, progressed to pity, then something short of loathing, then back to not-caring. Sorry to say it, but one doesn’t even feel much for the celebrities either as they’re painted in a largely negative light, when you see their vain excesses, the media furor over the latest celebrity court case, and DUI charges – not to mention their lax security measures for all their riches.
I actually looked over at the ‘couples’ seats next to me, thinking I could recline and have a snooze, but I didn’t have the energy for even that.

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I left the cinema wishing I’d stayed home. If there’s one possible redeeming factor, it’s that the performances were at least believable –but then again there wasn’t much to say other than “that’s so hot”, “look at these shoes” “OMG sluts – This is so ill!”

I’m tired just from writing this… the film looks nice, but there’s nothing much beneath the surface. It’s one of, if not the most superficial film I’ve seen, but perhaps that’s also kind of the point – to be self-aware and illustrate how superficial society is – which is why this vaguely Bonnie and Clyde style story is neither surprising nor intriguing. If that was the goal – then it fell short in my opinion. I could’ve found something better to do than watching some girls prance around in expensive stolen things while posing for smartphone pictures, or texting, or snorting drugs. It’s so sad, because it’s so true, but so what. A pointless exercise.

Joel’s Take

I believe Steven is far too kind when he say’s that the characters are unlikeable – by the conclusion of this film, my disdain for this gang of spoilt teenage hoodlums was beyond quantification. While I generally regard the characters in an Adam Sandler film as being stylistically repugnant, the Bling Ring kids are reprehensible to the point where one might feel inclined to inflect physical harm upon them in an act of moral retribution.

IF Sophia Coppola’s objective was to inspire disgust towards these self-idolising trolls, then she hit the mark, but something gives me the idea that this was not her plan. If this idea was to dissect the recent obsession of middle-class America’s desire for fame and designer goodies, there is evidence, but it never feels convincing. This is simply an overly long, under-developed concept with little going for it, however, in the hands of another director and cast, there might have been a modicum of potential…Oliver Stone perhaps (he made psychosis cool with Natural Born Killers after all, whose to say he couldn’t do it for stupidity).

  • JB

    great review. i enjoyed reading it. shall avoid this flick like the plague