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The Bling Ring

By: Addison WylieTheBlingRingposter

Developing an opinion about Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring is serving to be a struggle. I don’t know what to make of it.

On one hand, it’s becomes a slightly tedious ordeal to sit and watch empty-headed dopes essentially stare at each other as well as at themselves through mirrors and webcams. They also stare at their phones and material possessions until one of them breaks and takes a picture with their Blackberry.

As I watched these half-baked zombies ramble on about who’s hot and what different types of clothing lines are sexy, I pictured two lumberjacks sawing away at my medulla oblongata. I thought, “if I sit in this theatre any longer, I’ll surely become brain dead.”

However, on the other hand, that’s the point Coppola sends home with success. She wants her audience to go brain dead. She wants us to realize how vapid these teens are and how soulless life can be when you do nothing but hang out at the beach and idolize the likes of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan.

The scenes at the clubs, for instance, have an underlining interest beneath the shallow surface. These teens aren’t at the club to dance or to have fun, but are rather there because there’s nothing else to do. It’s a docking station for their lifeless bodies where they can hang out with equally spaced out people.

This may read as an easy target for Coppola, who seems to have a fascination with the somber reality that exists under the glitz and glamour of a celebrity lifestyle. But, Coppola’s challenge is to display how these teens were teetering on being extremely crafty and smart and being incredibly stupid.

The writer/director does this fairly well. She’s able to piece together how quick the learning curve was for these criminals once they started utilizing accessible technology to figure out where celebrities live and when they’ll be out of town. They use straight forward sneakiness to figure out where keys are hidden and what doors will be unlocked. Once we’re ready to become weirdly impressed, the crooks leave the place disheveled and don’t bother cleaning up their crime scene. At one point, the Hollywood Hills ringleader tries to steal Paris Hilton’s dog Peter Pan, expecting that Hilton won’t notice. That impressiveness turns into a flabbergasted palm-smack to the forehead.

Another thing Coppola does well is making her audience feel ill and anxious. She puts us smack-dab in the house with these criminals and then puts them in a perilous situation without them knowing. A scene in particular that had me squirming is when a gun is found in Megan Fox’s house. One girl points the gun at others, twirls it around, and aims it at windows having no idea if its loaded or not. Movie goers have no choice than to watch this break-in turn into a possible murder and it’s brutal to witness.

So, while Coppola accomplishes her goal in spades and creates a feeling of discomfort, it’s not exactly pleasurable or fun to watch; especially when some of these takes are so drawn out, we can’t help but space out ourselves. It’s certainly a case where the film is more fun to think about afterwards with other patrons who were feeling just as uneasy by most of the movie as you were – or when you re-listen to that addictive soundtrack. It’s at least the type of movie that you’re glad you’ve watched once followed by a burning sensation to lock up all of your stuff.

I’m usually here to provide my two cents about a film, but I have a feeling this review is more confusing than anything. I suppose I’m here to warn movie goers rather than to provide feedback for Coppola; who, I’m sure, has made the movie she’s wanted to make without many negotiations getting in the way.

So here’s my advice: your ability to stick with The Bling Ring is going to rely heavily on your tolerance and patience to empty-headed dopes and whether you have the strength to follow them around for at least an hour. If you have the willpower, you’ll be happily rewarded with a final act filled with comeuppance and a career best for Emma Watson. She plays Nicki, and is forced to think on her feet when the jig is up. This final portion is the most entertaining because watching dimwitted people frantically trying to dig themselves out of a hole is way more compelling than watching dimwitted people be, well, dimwitted.

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  1. June 25, 2013 at 3:33 am

    What did you think of Marie Antoinette? I adored the aesthetic of the film but felt it got off track occasionally. I’m expecting this to be similar, with beauty that draws you in but has a hard time keeping you there.

    • June 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

      Never saw Marie Antoinette, but I own it and still have that feeling to want to watch it. The whole idea of integrating modern day items is still a bit jarring though. We’ll see, I suppose….

      I’d love to re-visit Lost in Translation though, to see if it holds up. I found it to be excellent after the first couple of times, but I haven’t seen it recently.

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