The Bling Ring centers on the true story of a group of teens in California who burglarized several celebrity homes in 2008-2009. If you are at all familiar with gossip or celebrity news websites, you probably already know the story. Rather than be relegated to the Lifetime TV movie version, acclaimed director Sofia Coppola took on the subject for her next film. She both wrote and directed The Bling Ring.
Coppola cast a number of newcomer actors for many of the roles, but managed to snag Emma Watson (Harry Potter) to play one of the celebrity obsessed teens, Nicki. Taissa Farmiga (American Horror Story) and Leslie Mann (This Is 40) should also look familiar to audiences. Among the new talent are Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, and Claire Julien.
The plot is simple. A new guy in school, Marc (Israel Broussard) becomes supposed best friends with Rebecca (Katie Chang). Rebecca is like most teens, having a healthy obsession with celebrities along with wanting all the nice things they have like clothes and purses. Rebecca is not poor and far from it, but when your appearance is so judged on a daily basis, as well as living near L.A., you always want what you can’t have. Rebecca gets Marc to come with her Paris Hilton’s house to peruse her things and take a few. Being as this excursion was so easy, the pair continue on to other celeb houses and other friends join them on the jaunts. Security cams and bragging bring on their downfall.
The film opens on one of their last burglaries, Orlando Bloom’s house. We see a group scale a fence, walk backward to the house with hoodies up, and eventually enter the house. This is where the fun begins. This is also when the Sleigh Bells’ “Crown on the Ground” starts blaring. At this point, only a few minutes into the film, I am in.
I have to admit there is not a lot of story to tell in The Bling Ring, but what it lacks in story, it more than makes up with the characters, the music, the lighting, and direction.
I was totally mesmerized by Katie Chang’s performance as Rebecca. First off, this girl is gorgeous. Secondly, she got who Rebecca is, a girl that will use and abuse you, all the while calling you her best friend, to get what she wants. I believe Katie Chang will be in high demand after The Bling Ring hits.
The other actress watched so closely after the Harry Potter series ended is Emma Watson. Her turn as Nicki is a complete departure for her. With a Valley Girl-esque accent and maintaining the presence that it is all about her looking good and going to celebs’ houses, Hermione Granger is gone. I really did not know what to expect from her, but she nailed it. She transforms into a self-absorbed teen that is all about flaunting what she has on Facebook even if they are stolen goods.
The star of The Bling Ring is not any of the actors, but writer/director Sofia Coppola herself. She managed to take a sensationalistic celebrity burglary story and make it into something that is both highly entertaining and a take on our materialistic celeb-obsessed culture. With Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, we have teens that are all about their image and themselves, and that is reflected in the film. The direction of the film is impeccable and the lighting in a couple of scenes is borderline artistic. Coppola continues to make some impeccable indie films and that is where her obvious talent lies.
The Bling Ring is far more interesting and comical than I thought a film based on the non-violent crimes of a few teens could be. Killer music, a look at Paris Hilton’s actual house, and some Gavin Rossdale thrown into the mix makes this a film that should not be missed.
I give The Bling Ring 4 “pink stilettos” out of 5.
by Sarah Ksiazek