labe- The Bling Ring (2013) glorifies stolen luxury, and its dangerously entertaining - Oh So Geeky

The Bling Ring (2013) glorifies stolen luxury, and its dangerously entertaining

June 30, 2013
A ring of California high school students robs millions worth of dollars in possessions and cash from Hollywood elite. The leaders of the pack are Marc (Israel Broussard)  and Rebecca (Katie Chang). What starts out as a much-needed friendship for quiet and insecure Marc to headstrong and confident Rebecca becomes a regular routine to steal with their friends - Chloe (Claire Julien), Sam (Taissa Farmiga) and Nicki (Emma Watson).

The bling ring's 'process' is really quite easy. It starts with just opening the doors of cars that line the streets and taking what was in the dashboard or side compartments. Then the kleptomania is morphed with celebritydom. Stealing from Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Megan Fox, and others is literally a no-brainer. They google when a celebrity is out of town, go to their house, find an open door or window, and live in the glory of stolen luxury.

This is how the movie plays out for quite some time. After maybe the third or fourth house is broken into, the story becomes a bit repetitive. We continuously follow the gang - individually and together - robbing people and spending their loot like water.

The tension becomes strengthened by watching how much more comfortable the teens spend time in the victim's houses rummaging through their closets, beds, entire living spaces as if they are entitled to do so. What seemed like carefree harmless fun, in the beginning, becomes ridiculously dangerous.

Similar to the chaos of celebritydom and paparazzi tabloids, it's difficult not to feel interested in The Bling Ring. Director Sofia Coppola creates an atmosphere that is strongly naturalistic. You're observing everything that is going on. In one singular take of their break-ins, we watch Rebecca and Marc storm through Audrina Patridge's house from afar on a cliff watching them turn on and off lights, grab what they want, and amscray.

In this observational way, I couldn't help but still wonder if Coppola placed too much subjectivity. She makes a specific point to build the film on a highly factual basis with a great soundtrack and strong young cast. We see the kids rob, party, and rob some more. They aren't shown being too stupid to not know what they are doing is wrong, or even feeling guilty before, during, or after the crimes they commit. When the gang is eventually caught, you don't feel any sort of justice has been made.

For me, there were two characters I thought were a bit more intriguing and layered than the rest: Marc and Nicki. Marc is an isolated teen who has found a part of himself within this group and seems to be the most self-aware one there, even if he keeps reaping the benefits of their crimes. Nicki - who is played fabulously by Emma Watson - is shown living with her flaky mother who home-schools her daughters on 'The Secret' belief system. When their mother is teaching them about vision boards and asking why they look up to Angelina Jolie, you immediately know the lack of parental guidance in her life. As the rest of the gang's lives are minimally shown, I kept waiting for something with these two to occur because they were worth watching.

Overall though The Bling Ring doesn't scream rich and fame will buy you happiness. It doesn't make a point that parents are wholly responsible for the corrupt of our youth. And it doesn't really make a statement about how these kids thought they were entitled to fame. It plays that with the saturation and glamorization of celebrity culture in our world, there is an obsession with the Bonnie and Clyde thing. Somewhere along the way no matter how absurd these teens behavior and actions are, you kinda find yourself just as immersed in what they're doing as they are with the lifestyle they think they're achieving.

Rating: ★★☆

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