September 28, 2013

The Bling Ring

Sofia Coppola, 2013

Based on a true story that was profiled in a Vanity Fair article, a group of L.A. teens decide to burglarize the homes of the celebrities they are obsessed with in an effort to live the lavish lifestyles that they lead.

Coppola has always been held to a high standard given the impact that her father has had on the world of cinema. But she's clearly carved out a niche, and separated herself from the long dramatic pieces that Francis has created. Her films tend to be more stylistic and poppy, distinct and energetic. Bling Ring certainly fits into her typical style. Coppola, clearly fascinated by the Vanity Fair piece, wanted to paint the picture of the TMZ-culture and the shallow kids looking for thrills. The kids themselves appear quite numb in the film. When they have the valuable jewelry in their hands or the scarves around their necks, there is still a very obvious sense of emptiness. Without a doubt there is a void they are all trying to fill. It's not a story of the haves and have nots, but more of the haves and have enoughs. These kids are not destitute, as shown early on with Chloe (Claire Julien) driving up the Pacific Coast highway in her Lexus SUV. There is a sense of entitlement that they have. But there is also a sense of delusion. They scroll the pages of TMZ and Perez Hilton and see a mirror image of themselves. They want to live the life without putting in the work. It doesn't help that the parents are not present, and even if they are, they are filling their heads with Hollywood pseudo-spirituality that preaches positive thinking but doesn't lay out the framework for actually putting in an honest days work. Emma Watson delivers the stand-out performance as Nicki. Nicki gets what she wants not when she fills her pockets but when the cameras are in front of her. Almost as if she's laid out the entire thing (which you realize is impossible coming from her), she wants that fifteen minutes of fame where the paparazzi is in front her with the cameras snapping away.

The film gets running immediately with the punchy Noise-Pop and the showcase of material objects that would later become evidence. The lack of work ethic that the teens have combined with the sense of entitlement is reminiscent to the girls in Spring Breakers. But the film ultimately lacks depth. Perhaps it's the subject matter that doesn't give Coppola enough to work with? Could she have gotten into their minds a bit more? Maybe she squeezed everything she could have out of them. In the end, it's not going to be a Oscar-piece, but she was able to get a great performance out of very talented Emma Watson and examine the obsession of celebrity culture by today's youth.


  1. Yes, that's exactly what I thought when I saw this - ultimately lacking in depth, and I was surprised since Sofia Coppola did it... although having seen the short-lived reality show of real-life Nikki and her family, it didn't seem like too much was going on there anyway.

  2. Lost in Translation definitely holds its top spot for me with Coppola. Thats funny though, I actually had no idea that there was a reality show for Nikki. Lol