DVD Review: Sofia Coppola’s THE BLING RING Fails To Sparkle

bling-ring copy

The Bling Ring isn’t a good or an enjoyable movie. However, I’m still not sure if that’s because the film lacks depth, or if it’s because it is filled with very unlikeable characters. Sofia Coppola’s drama about a group of young Los Angelinos who robbed the rich and famous is a timely movie but that doesn’t necessarily make it a worthwhile one.

The film details the real-life burglaries which took place in 2008/2009 in the Hollywood Hills, crimes which saw the homes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr (amongst others) targeted. The perpetrators were a group of young ‘wannabes’ – kids who wanted to be hot on the Hollywood scene. They made off with over $3 million worth of cash and items, becoming over-night celebrities in the process. The criminals stem from a generation that grew up with brief attention spans brought about by smartphones, internet and superfast broadband.

We increasingly live in a society where many young people feel that they deserve money, fame, celebrity and adulation. The Bling Ring shines a light on this, highlighting the vacuousness of modern culture. The Bling Ring’s tone mirrors this, coming across as idiotic as the characters it seeks to depict. Coppola’s film never really rings true and it feels like it’s trying too hard to be hip, while not quite having enough depth to be meaningful. Performance-wise, everyone over acts. It’s a heightened reality, a black comedy satire which is light on laughs. Harry Potter star, Emma Watson tries to step-away from her wand-waving character – but her character here is just as annoying as anything she has ever done in the halls of Hogwarts.

It’s hard to watch Coppola’s film and feel sorry for the real-life victims of these crimes. They appeared to have a total disregard for their wealth, leaving their homes unlocked and their expensive items unprotected. It’s as if wealth brings monumental stupidity. Or maybe monumental stupidity brings wealth.

The Bling Ring is painful to watch. It’s like watching reality television mixed with Beverley Hills 90210. Everything about the film grates, from the hip-hop soundtrack to the performances. If this is how the youth of America acts today, then I truly pity future generations. Is The Bling Ring a morality tale for the youth of today? Maybe. However the characters never appear to suffer any consequences for their crimes. These characters wanted to be rich and famous – and it looks like that’s exactly what they got. It’s a frightening thing to see that crime really does appear to pay.

Sofia Coppola made a modern classic with Lost In Translation, but her subsequent films give the impression that that wonderful film may have been a fluke. The Bling Ring doesn’t stop the decline and it’s hard to recommend. However, I’m sure that I’m perhaps not the target audience for this. This is a youth tale for the young and I pity them for having to live their lives in world that places such a high value on celebrity.

Special Features

The Bling Ring isn’t a great movie but the DVD comes with a good selection of special features. A 22 minute making-of documentary covers all facets of production, while there is also an interesting feature on the real ‘Bling Ring’ (also 22 minutes). Meanwhile ‘victim’ Paris Hilton gets to show-off her ridiculous house and discuss the ‘trauma’ of the robberies.

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