Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Bling Ring

     Written and directed by Sofia Coppola, this new film is based on real events and is Ms. Coppola's most "mainstream" film yet.
       The plot is based on an article in Vanity Fair magazine about a band of California teens that robbed the home of various celebrities. I can't decide what was worse, the stupidity of these kids or the stupidity of the celebrities that left doors open with little security. Yes, Paris Hilton, I'm talking about you. There is little motivation for the break-ins other than boredom and a desire for designer clothes, shoes and jewelry without buying it. Cash and drugs are a bonus.
        Katie Chang is the ringleader, Rebecca and her "gang" consists of Emma Watson as Nikki, Israel Broussard as Marc, and Taissa Farmiga as Sam. Ms. Chang plays Rebecca as a bored sociopath and she is scary good in the part. Ms. Watson's Nikki is an airhead who can't buy a clue and Ms. Watson is terrific against type, shattering her previous image from the Harry Potter films. Mr. Broussard garners sympathy as Marc, the boy looking to fit in and enjoying his new found status even as it leads him down a self destructive path. Ms. Farmiga gets off easy with not much to do except go along for the ride.
         It's straight forward storytelling with flourishes of Ms. Coppola's signature style. There are long tracking shots, scenes with little dialog  that still move the story and one wonderful long shot of a robbery taking place in a glass house lit up against the L.A. night. The cinematography is terrific and the musical choices on the soundtrack work perfectly. 
          The film is a sad commentary on life as a disaffected youth in Los Angeles. You know these kids will eventually be caught  because they are sloppy amateurs. They flaunt their escapades on Facebook and brag to their friends. All the parents in the film are portrayed as either divorced, uncaring, or clueless themselves. It's a story that has to be seen to be believed.

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