The Bling Ring (2013)

Posted by Maria Mills | Posted on 10:23 PM | Posted in


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Movie Review written by: Born Movie Reviews
RT Critics Rating: 6/10

Born Movie Reviews' Rating: 5/10

THE BLING RING (2013) - Sofia Coppola

Yes, this is a true story, a story of seven teenagers and young adults who burgled the homes of several celebrities from 2008 to 2009. These celebrities include Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Orlando Bloom. Stealing over three million dollars in cash and belongings, the group became a cultural icon to the public, revealing a sobering view of our modern culture.

The Bling Ring is the film depiction of this group's several burglaries, parties, and nights of their lives, before they are inevitably caught and prosecuted. The film mainly revolves around five teenagers in the film, including Marc Hall (Israel Broussard), Rebecca Ahn (Katie Chang), and Nicki Moore (Emma Watson).

For sure, the film efficiently shows Sofia Coppola's visual style in directing. If you have seen her long wide takes before in films like Somewhere, then expect them here. Though the film depicted several burglaries, there is a single burglary scene that is consisted of one wide shot, showing the entire house with silhouette figures walking back and forth with clothing and bags in their hands, and runs for about a minute or two straight without cutting away. For sure, the film is artistic and beautifully filmed.

The editing alone is a bit flabby, cutting away at awkward times, but at other moments, holds a stylistic flavor, especially when the group looks up information regarding each celebrity on the internet. In strangely similar ways as Spring BreakersThe Bling Ring finds moments in which the characters are caught up in their moment of infinite happiness, as if they have everything they ever wanted. The slow motion kicks in, the music swells up, and the audience is engulfed.

Unfortunately, that is all that The Bling Ring has to offer, which is shamelessly less than it could have delivered. Just like in her previous films, Sofia Coppola leans away from characterization and dives straight into the art of cinematography and pacing instead. Prioritizing on one aspect of the film is one thing. Focusing on that aspect alone and nothing else is another. As a result, even when Emma Watson pulls off an interesting performance, she cannot fight against Nicki's shallow personality and cardboard archetype.

Though there are five characters in the film, practically all of them have the same personality with no backstory given. Without origin or explanation of motivation, the narrative only scratches the surface and never dives into the substance of the subject, which is a real disappointment when the film is about a group that defined a culture. One can easily remake the film and have the group steal from any random wealthy man. It didn't need to be about The Bling Ring. If David Fincher came to the director's chair instead, he might make this a second Social Network. Script would become an emphasis, editing will become smart, and dialogue amongst characters will become fast and clever. Sadly, with Coppola leading, the film did little to no thematic exploration.

In conclusion, The Bling Ring is another failed attempt at Coppola engaging the audience from the characters' world, almost like her signature in filmmaking. There is a sense of disconnect for substance, a confusion over what the film actually wants to say, and overall becomes an underwhelming effort that should have been so much more powerful. Just like the characters in the film, The Bling Ring is sadly shallow, in which unique filmmaking and intriguing performances cannot possibly save.


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