Opening: THE BLING RING, Robbing Celebrities And Falling Flat

Peter Martin, Managing Editor

"A somewhat alarming portrayal in a rather unassuming guise," Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring opens in limited release in the U.S. on Friday, June 14. The film stars Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Katie Chang, and Israel Broussard, and is based on the true story of a gang of young people in Los Angeles who robbed the homes of celebrities.

Our own Ryland Aldrich saw the film at Cannes last month, and his words are quoted above. He had much more to say, of course, including the following:

Instead of using character development to teach the audience what went wrong with these kids (or, say, generation), Coppola just takes us on a 90-minute vacation into their fun-filled lives of coke-fueled clubbing and slo-mo selfies. Where is the conflict? ...

What's left is a straight forward dramatization of events that glorifies the results of the crimes while barely touching on their ramifications. Without characters worth engaging with, the audience's only choice for entertainment is the pretty cool shit the kids are up to. But it's rather clear where everything is headed from the start. That pretty cool shit eventually gets repetitive and The Bling Ring falters on its Louboutin heels and falls flat.

You can read the review in its entirety right here.

For more information about the film, visit the official U.S. site.

Around the Internet:
  • Melissa Jane Moore

    I haven't seen this one yet, but I would have thought that, seeing as it's a movie about a group of shallow, vacuous twits stealing celebrity shit, the adaptation should reflect that by being equally as shallow and vacuous.

  • april showers

    Just saw Bling Ring and found it to be a modern version of Marie Antoinette. A bunch of self absorbed children stealing whatever they want willy nilly, having the time of their lives squandering the fruits of other people's hard work on the most ridiculous and extravagant nonsense without the slightest twinge of embarrassment, rather they were so proud of themselves, until finally and mercifully, the spree comes to an unhappy end. I think the kids did experience consequences of their behavior, not as harsh as Ms Antoinette but I think that is a good thing overall.

  • Shane

    I hate how they keep using the word "robbing"....it's actually burglary!!!!!!!!!!

  • Dave Baxter

    While this film is based on a true story, and SPRING BREAKERS is not, I nevertheless had the same reaction to SB that Ryland had to BLING RING. A lot of craftsmanship in the photography and the actors were obviously having the time of their lives. But when moves present a situation, slick it up to the hilt so that the film itself can be considered top of the line, then walk away clean without commenting on the content at all, the whole thing just falls flat. SB was a blast to watch, but takes no serious grip on its material. It just plays with it, like dolls, for its entire run time. I get the feeling Bling is going to be the same.

  • You couldn’t figure out that what the girls in Spring Breakers were doing something bad? And in any case, I don’t think that’s what it was really about. Seemed to me something more along the lines of people who didn’t fit into the world sorta crashing together, physically and spiritually, like a super nova before going back to real hum drum reality.

    Doesn’t have to be underlined for the text to be there. Do some work on your own. Movies don’t always have to be a passive experience.

  • Dave Baxter

    I'll do SOME work on my own. I won't do all of it and still give the filmmakers any credit. There's text and then there's textuality. Monkey's can bang out text. If I have to invent, inside my head, textuality wholesale to make a movie meaningful, then I'm doing ALL the work.

    The fact that the girls were doing something bad is precisely why the film itself needs to contain an additional anything of subtext in order to not be shallow. Main characters do bad things, then they trot on back to drab dreary non-bad-things life, unscathed, or seemingly so. That's pretty much the definition of not containing any textuality on your subject matter, when no meaningful impact is recorded within any of the character's actions. I can invent all sorts of repercussions that may or may not be happening off screen to any number of the characters, based on how these things play out in reality, but none of that shows up or is even hinted at in the movie itself.

    Also, supernovas don't happen and then get to return to "hum drum reality". They destroy themselves and everything around them for a wide, wide range. So these characters "crash together" and...all the men die, all the girls go home, some of them as though nothing ever happened. Not sure what that means, because nothing holds up and supports all the events within the film. Therefore, I have to call it lazy screenwriting, all metaphors to describe it otherwise to the contrary.

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