The Bling Ring: Glitzy Teen Crime Drama
Emma WatsonIsrael Broussard...
Recognised for her sensual and deadpan-cool approach, no one tells it better than Sofia Coppola. In her latest project, The Bling Ring, Coppola explores yet another layer of fame and fortune; a theme that is ever-present in her stories. Shining a light on the naivety and recklessness behind the celebrity-obsessed culture of today, her focus is right on the money.
Based on the 2010 Vanity Fair article ‘The Suspects Wore Louboutins’, The Bling Ring is based on real events. Between 2008 and 2009, a group of teens robbed and burglarised the homes of rich and famous icons across Hollywood.
We first meet Marc Hall (Broussard); a quiet high-school student who has recently moved to Calabasa, California with his mother, hoping for a fresh start. He soon strikes up a friendship with a classmate, Rachel (Chang), and the twosome bond over their mutual love and obsession of trends, fads, celebrity gossip and partying.
Marc, who is happy to have made a friend, soon sees the darker side of Rachel but chooses to ignore it and loyally accompanies her whilst she steals from unlocked cars. Rachel soon finds herself looking for bigger and better steals, however, and persuades Marc to join her in breaking into celebrities’ homes whilst they are away on vacation. The duo is quickly joined by close friends, Nicki (Watson) and Sam (Farmiga).
Together, they go on to break into the homes of the celebrities like Paris Hilton and Lyndsay Lohan, stealing everything from designer clothes to priceless jewels, and grabbing any loose cash they find lying around.
Very little character development takes place; each is simplified to reflect the shallow, straight-forward, superficial nature of the main characters. All are brilliantly cast and as the ringleader of the group, Chang nails the role of Rachel; strong, manipulative, cool and collected. As the newcomer and the only voice of reason in the bunch, Broussard succeeds in portraying Marc with naivety and charm, while Watson, whose role is smaller than expected, is nothing short of a bombshell in her brief appearances.
The film is shot beautifully, and Coppola very deliberately avoids delving into an explanation of the craze; she highlights the absurdity of fixation with the celebrity glamour and lifestyle that, as we all know, never forms any real-life values and ideals.