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The Bling Ring - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
The Bling Ring
Directing: B
Acting: B+
Writing: B
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B

Sofia Coppola may not have the clearest vision, but she certaily has a unique one. If nothing else, her movies are unlike those of anyone else. There's something to be said for that, even if her stories, as in The Bling Ring, don't quite coalesce -- leaving you feeling there's something missing, something you can't quite put your finger on.

Here she takes a story "inspired by true events," and makes a movie about celebrity- and fame-obsessed teenagers who break into the homes of famous people and steal a bunch of their stuff. These kids never actually break anything to get in -- they just find the addresses, sneak over fences, and find windows or doors unlocked while the homeowners are out of town. Apparently, none of these houses had alarm systems, or staff of any kind. In one scene, one of the kids actually tries to take a little dog. Who the hell is taking care of the dog while the homeowner is away?

Well, the real-life counterparts managed to get in, so one can only assume the nature of the break-ins is realistic. Maybe the rich and famous have learned their lesson and installed scurity systems. They did already have security cameras -- eventually, footage gets shown on local Los Angeles news.

Coppola centers the story around the one boy in the group, Marc (Israel Broussard), who sporadically narrates via his interview for a Vanity Fair piece. The "ring leader," though, is Rebecca (Katie Chang), the girl who befriends Marc and introduces him to "checking cars" -- pulling on parked car doors until they find open ones, inside of which they find bags and wallets and, of course, money.

From cars they graduate to homes, eventually bringig along with them the friends who round out the group: Nicki (Emma Watson), the jaw-droppingly self-deluded one who still fancies herself some kind of philanthropist even after getting caught red-handed; Chloe (Claire Julien), Nicki's pseudo-adoptive sister; and their straggling friend Sam (Taissa Farmiga).

Whether The Bling Ring is making some kind of statement is difficult to decipher. It doesn't come across as any pointed cautionary tale, only an interesting look at how over-privileged brats assimilate celebrity culture. The fact that the film clocks in just shy of 90 minutes is a relief; there's no need to endure these kids any longer than that.

Given that these robberies actually happened -- it's been widely reported that Paris Hilton allowed filming in her actual home -- it's not exactly a spoiler to reveal that these kids go to jail. The sentencing even seems a little harsh, given that they didn't exactly hurt anyone. But stealing is stealing, right?

And here is one of several examples of Copoolas's memorable filmmaking: the camera follows Marc as he walks in his orange jumpsuit to the bus that's to take him to jail. All the other guys in the line with him could easily be twice his age. It makes you wonder what it's going to be like for this poor, stupid kid on the inside.

One still wonders if this will one day make future teenagers roll their eyes as this movie is shown to them in class. At Beverly Hills High School, maybe.

Taissa Farmiga, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Katie Chang and Claire Julien are THE BLING RING.

Overall: B
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