#REVIEW: “THE BLING RING”
Often Movies are adapted from Books, but Auteur Director Sofia Coppola bases her long-awaited fifth Feature The Bling Ring upon a Vanity Fair Piece by Nancy Jo Sales titled The Suspects Wore Louboutins. The subject matter is familiar to many of us who live and breathe the Pop Culture Milieu. Infamous The Bling Ring, a group of Los Angeles Teens who successfully broke into the homes of Stars between 2008 and 2009 robbing them of cash, fashions and jewelry, while becoming Stars in their own right. Counted among their Victims were the likes of Lindsay Lohan, Audrina Patridge, Miranda Kerr/Orlando Bloom, Megan Fox, Rachel Bilson and The Holy Grail herself, Paris Hilton.
The Film centers upon Ringleader Rebecca (Katie Chang) who befriends Marc (Israel Broussard), both fashionable Outcasts of sorts – a Bonnie & Clyde for The Hills Generation, if you will. As their friendship progresses, their ambitions escalate as well and joining the Ring are Chloe (Claire Julien) and Sisters Nicki (Emma Watson) and Sam (Taissa Farmiga). Despite a wildly-successful string of robberies which saw a bulk of the loot which subsequently was unloaded for a pittance, Investigators begin the clue-in to their identities and it is only a matter of time before Celebrity Justice is brought to light.
To create a Film such as this, Coppola one would successfully need to capture an essence of imminent danger and at every moment we feel that something is about to go horribly wrong. A Heist Film on a relatively smaller scale sans explosions and violence, she manages to orchestrate the right amount of intensity and uneasiness. Secondly, she needs to capture the heights of fun and euphoria these Teens experienced which drove them into a continued reckless pursuit of glamour and fashion fortunes. On the whole, she succeeds in this regard also. In an odd, voyeuristic way, we feel too that we are the “Cool Kids” tagging along in their drug and alcohol-infused Crime Spree. One particular Surviellance Camera-esque scene outside Patridge’s home is choreographed and precise – a bit of a defining moment in the Film, complete with the sound of sirens in the far away distance.
Chang shows tons of promise in this her Breakout Role, proving it takes raw talent to play obsessed/vapid well, while her Partner-in-Crime Brosseau straddles the lines of constraint/fearlessness with finesse. Watson is astoundingly good here, delivering a bulk of the laughs with Nicki’s delusion and moral confusion. Farmiga disappears completely into her role as Nicki’s adopted Sister, Sam, with a penchant for danger, illustrating The Bling Ring’s transformation that comes with their elevation in power.
One question remains unanswered though through all of this: what would possess these Kids to cross to the dark side? Brosseau’s Marc makes a valid point late in the Film that as a Society we are drawn to the “wrong things”. That is, if The Bling Ring were a group of Kids who behaved like Samaritans, who really would care? On this level, Coppola has made an impactful statement here about the oft backwards state of Celebrity Culture.
eOne Films releases The Bling Ring Friday, June 21, 2013 in Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Halifax and Victoria.