The Bling Ring delves into the fame-obsessed world of teen celebrity wannabes

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Sofia Coppola is arguably one of the most interesting filmmakers of this era. Daughter of famous filmmaker Francis Coppola, having grown up amidst one of Hollywood’s most famous dynasties, she has often been drawn to celebrity culture in her movies but never has it been quite this vacuous. The Bling Ring is based on the vanity fair article ‘The Suspects Wore Louboutins’, the true story of a group of young Hollywood-obsessed teens who used the internet to track down celebrities’ whereabouts in order to rob their homes. For the most part of the film we spend our time in the company of slightly disconnected, overprivilidged kids who steal designer clothes, party hard at exclusive nightclubs and every once and a while (when they can find it) snort cocaine and drive recklessly around Mulholland.

The basic premise of the story would seem ludicrous and rudimentary had the events of this story not been absolutely true. Over the course of several months in 2009 the ‘Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch’ (as they were affectionately referred to by the media) stole over $3 million in clothing and jewelry from the homes of their idols including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and others, sometimes even spending stolen money at the same night clubs where their stars visited. They went as far as posting self incriminating pictures of their exploits on Facebook and wearing stolen clothes to court after they were caught. Perhaps most fascinating is the apathetic, guiltless way with which these teens engaged in serial robbery, most of them denying wrongdoing altogether. Over fifty homes were allegedly targeted for potential burglary and tracked via gossip sites and Google street view. Very much of the times, a story like this couldn’t have been possible a decade ago before the rise of social media and online obsessional fandom.

The appeal is largely in the introspective, almost sympathetic way Coppola directs the young people as they travel around LA, hopping from one lavish mansion to another, losing themselves in the strive for a richer lifestyle. The dialogue is justifiably insipid mostly consisting of repetitive exclamations like ‘oh my god’, ‘totally’ and ‘chill’. Although the people onscreen are unquestionably real there remains a voyeuristic quality to Copola’s direction, almost as if there is a veil between them and us; we are one step removed from reality, in a dream state of sorts. That’s not to say the film is without a critical eye, concluding with a silver-tongued bite from Emma Watson’s character in the film’s final moments.
In regards to the performances, there are no weak links. Newcomers Israel Broussard and Katie Chang are especially naturalistic. The thumping soundtrack is an additional pro and makes for impressive atmospheric scenes. Some people will call it pointless and vapid, but isn’t that rather the point. The adventure into Hollywood glamour is especially lightweight but there remains lots to look at and admire, including Emma Watson who packs a punch of black comedy.

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One thought on “The Bling Ring delves into the fame-obsessed world of teen celebrity wannabes

  1. Pingback: The Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch-The Legal Backdrop | Fashion Nexus

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