'The Bling Ring' (15) is director's Sofia Coppola's new film and the production credits reads like a family tree of the Coppola family. But I state that neutrally... Make your own mind up about the film. It's a film based on 'true events' as documented by a 'Vanity Fair' article. The fact that these two facts are emphasised adds an ironic touch to this film. The film documents the activities of a group of young people dubbed 'The Bling Ring' owing to their propensity for the superficial accoutrements and accessories of a morally bankrupt generation. Essentially, in order to obtain the celebrity lifestyle that helps them to be the 'in crowd', they steal from celebrities. But tellingly, they steal only those items which they feel will help forward their status. Money is stolen when it can be found but this serves to fund their escalating drug habits.
A couple of the characters including Emma Watson's character are brought up by a mother who espouses new age philosophy with her daughters. Most notably, as they get up the mother gives them a life affirming statement to chew on, prior to sending them out into the outside world. Amusingly, later in the film, the mother clearly obsessed with 'The Secret' by Rhonda Byrne, offers a 'vision board', which is covered with images of Angelina Jolie and the girls are asked to identify the actresses' key qualities. They choose the superficial; Angelina Jolie's 'hot husband' and her 'hot body'.
My enduring memories of the film are the scenes of larceny and the ironic fact that the celebrity generation with its endless need to feed the public with every detail of day to day life on social media sites has left them vulnerable to attack. Indeed, the group pretty much just slide a glass door to get into certain properties. Also Paris Hilton apparently used to keep her key under the door mat. You may as well just wave a sign saying 'Rob me'. Additionally, there is one young man who is part of the group who in many respects serves as the counterpoint to the others. He initially questions the unlawful entries and robberies then it becomes clear that the beauty of high heel shoes and clothes are as much of a lure to him as to his friends. His repressed homosexuality is apparent for all to see but never acted on as he explores his boundaries and becomes more and more addicted to cocaine.
This is a highly successful film, tearing through the superficialities of a consumer society, so obsessed with image that it fails to perceive the damage it is causing to the touchscreen, Prada kids with their vastly reduced capacity to feel. The music soundtrack adding to the hedonistic ride. You leave the cinema with one extended finger raised towards the fashion industry and another finger raised in the direction of the media. 'The Bling Ring' is like totally sick...
Barry Watt - 6th July 2013
'The Bling Ring' (15) is currently showing in most cinemas.
A link to the 'Vanity Fair' article, 'The Suspects Wore Louboutins' by Nancy Jo Sales is included below and the article is copyright to the author and to Conde Nast.
Prada is copyright to Prada.