The Bling Ring (2013) – Review

It’s entirely possible that Sofia Coppola (the daughter of Francis Ford) has already made her masterpiece; 2003’s lovely and divisive Lost In Translation. Whether that’s the case at the end of her career remains to be seen – we hope not – but one thing’s for certain: The Bling Ring is not the film to trump it.

The first comparison to spring up while walking out of the cinema was how similar this is to Spring BreakersHarmony Korine’s brash, loud teen drama from earlier this year. Perhaps not dramatically, but certainly stylistically, thematically, and to an extent, narratively.  Like Korine’s film, The Bling Ring follows a group of sexy, stylish, party-obsessed teens (chiefly girls) who crave the excitement of crime and the idea of a lavish, anarchic lifestyle.  The two films would make an interesting double-bill, if one could be bothered to sit through them back-to-back.  I enjoyed The Bling Ring a little more than Spring Breakers, almost purely for the performances, and by that I mean Emma Watson.  Stepping as far out of the Hermione shadow as she possibly can, she convinces for every single second on-screen that she’s a dumb, spoiled, poser American teen with no morals and too much ego.  Oddly enough, despite being extremely British and well-educated, she’s the most convincing out of the entire superlative cast.  These characters are pretty despicable, but it’s hard not to admire the performances that make us believe that.

Whether it can be classed as a comedy or not, the film is quite funny, and that humour is one of the strongest influences that keeps us interested in the story.  Without it I think would be very easy to get bored.  Whilst true and fairly interesting as a piece of news, it just isn’t a great dramatic template.  There doesn’t seem to be a sympathetic direction in the narrative; it’s unclear whose side we’re supposed to be on.  The victims’?  Probably, but to be honest I really don’t care if Paris Hilton got robbed seven times, she probably didn’t even know she had half the stuff that got knicked.

Yet it’s equally hard to get on the side of the teens because they’re just so spoilt and utterly stupid.  We end up not really caring what happens to anyone, which isn’t a good place to be.  There also reaches a point in the film where we’re basically just seeing the same thing over and over again – the kids robbing a different celebrity’s house, tension building so as we think they’re about to get caught, but then they make it out unnoticed – waiting for the inevitable climax where they actually do get caught (not a spoiler, believe me) and face the consequences.  It’s a slightly odd situation in that it feels to be going on forever, but the film is only ninety minutes long.

There’s enough in here for it to be worth your time but there’s no need to go out of your way to see it.  Fairly enjoyable, but unremarkable.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

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