The Bling Ring Review
"The Bling Ring" tells the apparent true story of a group of high school students who broke into the homes of the rich and famous to steal their fashionable items. This group of kids lived in Los Angeles, and they followed various celebrities through social network websites. When the group learns that a particular celebrity is out of town, they go in and steal the celebrities stuff, so that they can dress up and live large in Los Angeles' high life. All of this was halted when the cops were on to their trail, due to reviewing tape recording devices the celebrities had in their homes. The group was dubbed "The Bling Ring" and they are currently in jail. The film is directed by Sophia Coppola, daughter of legendary filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola and stars Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Taissa Farmiga and Leslie Mann. So the film should have been a hit, right?
Sadly, despite the film crew and star power, I was both shocked and disappointed to learn that "The Bling Ring" isn't very much of a movie at all. It is a series of events and then its over. We see Broussard's character, Marc enter Indian Hills High School, we see him befriend Rebecca (Katie Chang) and her friends, we see him go on a few house raids with Rebecca and her friends, we see them all party together, and then we see them go to jail. The end. We barely get to know any of the characters, we never really discover what lead these children to break into homes, we barely learn why Marc is so easily influenced to rob the houses, we don't learn anything from these characters. We just see a series of break-ins, followed by overly-long montages of the group of friends partying at Los Angeles clubs, then they get arrested, the end. The most forgiving factor to this movie is it lasts 90 minutes, I don't know if I could have handled a two hour version of this nonsense. We learn from a simple Imdb.com synopsis that the teenagers were fashion-obsessed, but that is never explained or explored in the film.
I have liked Emma Watson during "Harry Potter" and after "Harry Potter," I have really enjoyed Taissa Farmiga in "American Horror Story," and I have always adored Leslie Mann, but Sofia Coppola didn't give these fine actors anybody to play. These people onscreen barely register as characters, we learn nothing about them. I could sympathize with them if we ever learned about their need to steal, what led them to it, and so on. Even if the characters realized how incredibly dumb they were to never think that a celebrity might have a recording system in their homes would have been good enough. But no, the movie is just 90 minutes of steal, party, steal, party. The film never once pauses for character development or motivation. I was definitely intrigued by Israel Broussard and Katie Chang, simply because I had never heard of them. I think they have some potential, but "The Bling Ring" didn't give them characters to play either. The movie gave them types to play.
I really do not know what else to say to add substance. If you think it would be cool to watch a bunch of semi-famous young actors breaking into mansions then partying, then look no further than "The Bling Ring," if you require that your filmmakers actually try to push some effort onto their project, you'll be frustrated. Sure, there is great music and clever editing, but that doesn't make for a good movie. We need to believe in the characters and tap into the story they are telling, these characters do not tell a story at all. So the audience is left hanging, waiting for something to happen.
FINAL GRADE: C-