I love the films Sofia Coppola comes up with! I saw "The Bling Ring" last night and was not disappointed - it is a funny, shifting, tongue-in-cheek on the mark portrayal of the madness of the celebrity obsession. The obsession that results in a feeling that we know people in the public eye, and have a right to invite ourselves to their homes. And this is what happens, a posse of adolescent middle-class LA girls and their gay friend (brilliant Israel Broussard portraying a young adult who is embracing his gayness, his performance is flawless) embarked on a thieving extravaganza, targeting homes of the celebrities next door (Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan et al). Time after time, they broke into celebrities' abodes and tried on stuff, innocently bagging a bracelet or two. Those "trips" continued and the thieving escalated with the amount of publicity their gang received. As their sense of cautiousness disappeared, they started to bag as much bling as they could carry away, occasionally taking Ferraris for a ride (returning them in time of the lawful owner's return back to LA). Until, of course, they got caught and were put behind bars. For real.
As the credits started to roll (to yet another great piece of music!), a couple of girls behind me voiced their opinions: "What was that about? Completely pointless..." I felt smug. God, I felt energised and elated after the film, a bit like after watching a fine thriller. The whole experience felt like a good thriller to me - I was at the edge of my seat, tensed and a couple of times literally holding my breath (the gun scene?!).
The film is very well made. Cinematography is beautiful. There are numerous scenes that are stunning and well thought through (the night driving, when we see just the road ahead? the car crash scene? the sad and disturbing scene, where the ring leader (played by Katie Chang), stands in Lindsay Lohan's bedroom and sprays herself with perfume? the almost silent scenes of robberies? the list is endless!). The acting of the young actors is solidly good (some critics pointed out that there are scarcely any dialogues in the film, but this is not a radio play that would not survive without a good dialogue, this is Sofia Coppola's film!). Chang and Broussard and our own Emma Watson are excellent!
And the humour! This is (perhaps first) genuinely funny Coppola's film - Leslie Mann is hilarious and sweet as a spiritual mum home-schooling her children on the principles of The Secret. And the fuchsia pink shoes!
And the music!
This is definitely a film that will divide opinions, but sometimes you need to think outside the lines. This is not just a portrayal of a incident that took place a few years ago, without comment or any directorial input, this is a satire of the world's celebrity culture. In her last film Somewhere [DVD] (2010), Sofia Coppola tried to illustrate the meaningless of celebrity existence. And in "The Bling Ring" she continues her musings on the topic of fame, depicting the obsession with all things celebrity.
This is a real life tale of obsession (on wrong things), arrogance and dilusion, and a time capsule of the strange times we live in.