I’m a fan of Sofia Coppola’s movies, even though I feel like I’m sometimes not cool enough to get the vision of what she’s trying to do. But Lost in Translation was genius and I adored The Virgin Suicides, so when I got a chance to screen The Bling Ring, I signed up.
If you’re not familiar with the background of the story, it’s based on the Vanity Fair article, “The Suspects Wore Louboutins” by Nancy Jo Sales, the subject of which was the notorious robber ring of Los Angeles-area teenagers who were the perpetrators in a slew of celebrity home robberies in the late 2000’s, including Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr, Lindsay Lohan, Audrina Patridge and, of course, Paris Hilton. Not only did they take thousands and thousands in cash and clothing, but they wore the photos in selfies and photos, posted on the web.
If you remember anything about this time, you remember how this was the time where celebrity seemed to take on a whole new meaning to everyone. This was the rise of the “celebutante,” the gals who were always spotted in the hottest clothes traveling the world to contribute seemingly nothing but their ability to make sure the world was simply transfixed on everything they did. The movie captures the time period brilliantly, as the story starts with regular high school insecurity and ratchets up like a roller coaster as they become more and more brazen in their robberies.
Against a backdrop of affluent suburban Los Angeles during the day (which is washed in pink, like rose-colored glasses) to the glittering celebrity homes and nightclubs where the teens sneak in to enjoy bottle service (which is rich and sparkling in jewel tones), it carries Sofia’s signature seductive hand. You’re unaware of how much time has passed, you’re as excited as they are to be in the houses, just as enamored. Paris Hilton makes a quick cameo in the film, and I’d dare say that it looks like they shot in her house.
What I loved most about the way the performances were directed is that you watch as the teens in the Bling Ring take on the spoiled, entitled personalities of the celebrities they’re robbing. If clothes make the man, it’s amazing to watch what these clothes can turn you into….it’s really, really scary.
But as all roller coaster riders know, what goes up must come down, and they do have to answer for their crimes at their tender ages. But the way the story is woven, it’s almost sad to see the ride end. The light of day seems so harsh at the end, you’ll be sad the ride has to end.
The performances are really good here. There are a lot of young actors in the movie that most of your teens will know, with Emma Watson putting in a star turn performance as a character seemingly inspired by the most notable of the robbers, Alexis Neiers. Leslie Mann is hilarious and sad as her New Age mom. The two original Bling Ringers are portrayed very well by Israel Broussard and Katie Chang.
Oh, and there’s a gorgeous surprise in here: Gavin Rossdale is in it. I’ll just leave it right here. Wipe your chins when you’re done.
You’ll be seduced by the allure of what would happen if people who are so rich that “they’d never miss it” if something were taken, but you’ll be horrified with how lost and hollow the characters seem. It’s worth the price of admission, and it’s a great popcorn cruncher, if for no other reason than you’d really like to see the insane bling the ring takes. But it’s more than that, and I’d say you should go see it.
The Bling Ring will be released nationwide next Friday, June 21st. Go check it out. I think you’ll dig it.