Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Bling Ring

Movie Name: The Bling Ring
Year of Release: 2013
Director: Sofia Coppola
Stars: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Claire Julien, Leslie Mann, Gavin Rossdale, Stacy Edwards, Georgia Rock, Carlos Miranda
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

Director Sofia Coppola's new effort, following "Somewhere", is again a story focusing on disaffected youth. The story is based on the true events that occurred in Calabasas, CA, when a group of teenagers started robbing the houses of celebrities. The film introduces us to Marc, a young man who comes to a new school and befriends Rebecca, a young woman who clearly knows how to navigate the social structure of the school. Rebecca starts bringing Marc on her looting sprees, where they go into people's unlocked cars and just take what they can find. That soon escalates to the houses of celebrities, including Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson and Lindsay Lohan's. These robberies become a social high for this group of friends that is joined by Chloe, Sam and Nicki. This behavior starts to spiral out of control, as the number of houses and diversity of materials they rob increase, until the group gets caught on camera.
Sofia Coppola is a director with a specific sensibility, aesthetic and universe. She invariably focuses her films on young people who are, to a certain level, thrown into an adult world without being completely prepared to tackle the responsibilities that comes with it. These young adults, are sometimes trying to find their way in the world, through meaningful amorous relationships, through accepted social status and behavior, and of course, through the acceptance of groups of other young people, as is the case of "The Bling Ring". In this film, the director smartly avoids making a caricature of these characters, yet the film feels superficial in the depiction of this group of young people.  The continuous depiction of these robberies, though presenting the progression of the sheer audacity of the group, it does not provide further insight into who they are. The film focuses on the baubles, how these young people obsess on their public persona, in a society which is celebrity focused and where all this information is constantly bombarded (TMZ for instance). It's a film that on a first viewing seems ironic, but that definitely shines an interesting mirror into the core of what currently obsesses people. The cast is uniformly good, with highlights to Emma Watson and Leslie Mann. A film worth watching.