Director: Sophia Coppola
I liked this film – I thought I should start off with that because the reason I saw it was entirely due to so many warnings; people telling me to stay away with “it’s so bad”-styled proclamations. That had me interested.
It would be wrong to talk this up as any sort of wonderful film but it’s serviceable, and, given the subject matter, it’s actually almost startlingly profound. I saw no real change in the way Coppola has approached her work, this has similar characters, similar themes to her best (early) films. But those had star-turns, and popular actors. They came from intriguing works of fiction and strange worlds we had either visited ourselves or could still easily imagine.
This film is about an ugly truth – ugly, sad, stupid people being stalked by ugly, sad, stupid people. Both so sure they’re part of some beautiful crew. Both so sure they’re absolutely entitled to what they want and what they do. Both incapable of explaining what they actually do – in terms of it providing the world with anything.
As long as we have Kardashians on covers there is a need for a film like The Bling Ring – it’s not celebrating the behaviour, but by not (quite) judging it we see this celebrity-stalking/gossip culture for what it is: meaningless, empty, cold, pointless.
The Bling Ring is also of the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction story-pool. You’d like to not believe that a bunch of bratty teens could help themselves to jewellery and handbags from Hollywood homes and cars just by trying doors – but it actually happened. And this based-on-a-true-story retelling gets to the heart of it: precisely there is no heart.
There’s no small irony that the tale is being told by Sophia Coppola – another version of the spoilt, entitled brat. So she stepped onto the other side of the camera and buried herself – or rather blurred herself – into her work. She’s certainly very self-aware, given the film is credited to “Rich Bitch Sophia Coppola”.
Actually The Bling Ring might be better thought of as some art installation – its jarring (but perfect) soundtrack part of the puzzle. But no, too easy to compare it to Spring Breakers and/or to be disappointed that Emma Watson was in it and that it had some strange notes of comedy.
I liked it. I didn’t love it. My world won’t be any different for seeing it – but I thought it said something at least – could it be (even) that it’s being served up Trojan Horse style to the very teens and young jerks it’s (subtly) mocking? Maybe in the years to come they’ll realise the pointlessness of their lazy (non)-hobbies? Probably only after they’ve tried a door handle and jimmied a lock or two.