Movie Review: The Bling Ring [2013]

The Bling Ring [2013]

The Bling Ring [2013]
Directors: Sofia Coppola
Screenplay: Sofia Coppola, Nancy Jo Sales
Genre: Crime/Drama
Starring: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga
Running Time: 90 minutes

A funny thing happened while watching The Bling Ring. About halfway through the film, as the characters questioned their level of fame, my girlfriend whispered to me that “if this were real, they would have their own reality show by now.” When I informed her that the film is based on a true story, she couldn’t believe it (her prediction wasn’t too far off either — one of the girls actually was on a reality show called Pretty Wild, and of course, they also got a movie).

The concept behind The Bling Ring *is* absolutely ridiculous, and if it weren’t true, the film could easily be seen as a scathing satire of today’s obsession with celebrities and socialites.

The Bling Ring [2013]

When Marc Hall (Nick Prugo) transfers to a new high school, he quickly becomes friends with the fame-obsessed Rebecca Ahn (Rachel Lee). They bond over a joint or two before Rebecca gets a wild idea — why don’t they break into a rich home while the owners are out of town? Seemingly eager to make a new friend, Marc agrees, and the two of them hit up the abandoned house of an acquaintance. In there, they go to town, stealing clothes, jewelry, cash — basically anything that looks appealing to them.

Breaking into these mansions becomes a hobby for the two of them, and soon they have a few friends getting in on the action. Nicki (Emma Watson), Sam (Taissa Farmiga) and Chloe (Courtney Ames) are more than willing to join them, especially once they start targeting the homes of celebrities. Paris Hilton, in particular, is hit multiple times while she’s out of town. Her house is the easiest to get into — she simply leaves the keys under the doormat (why is that not surprising?).

The Bling Ring [2013]

The five of them continue robbing these targets over and over again, occasionally bringing more friends (and even Sam’s 13-year-old sister) along. They use their newfound money to buy even more clothes and jewelry, not to mention bags of coke when possible. They are “living the life”, at least in their eyes.

Of course, as this is based on a true story, there is no happy ending for these delinquents. This is shown as such at the beginning of the film when we hear Nicki give a spectacularly ditzy update to the press (“I might want to be the leader of a country someday, for all I know”). Emma Watson nails this role, expertly portraying the overwhelming superficiality present in her character. In fact, this entire group of young actors all excel here, with newcomer Israel Broussard being a major highlight as well.

The Bling Ring [2013]

At times, The Bling Ring feels like a bit much. Most of the film shows these kids getting high and breaking into homes, and none of the characters are exactly likeable. Director Sofia Coppola (responsible for two genuinely great films — Lost in Translation and the underrated Somewhere) nails the party lifestyle that this group so actively pursues, but the film may be too repetitive for its own good. Did we really need to see them go nuts over finding more Louboutin, Rolexes and other designer items more than two or three times? We see them break into Hilton’s home on multiple occasions — though I’m sure she loves the attention (her real house was even used in the movie, and she makes a cameo appearance).

Still, The Bling Ring is an entertaining film. There is something alluring about the trash culture that our society is so enamored with these days, and this film puts that all on display, for better or for worse.

7/10

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23 thoughts on “Movie Review: The Bling Ring [2013]

  1. CMrok93 says:

    The style from Coppola can only go so far. It isn’t until we realize that these characters are boring, vain, and repetitive with their day-to-day activities that we realize the movie may be just a tad bit uninteresting. Good review Eric.

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      Oh yeah, these characters are vain alright. I didn’t think the film was uninteresting, but it did start to get repetitive after a while. You can only show Paris Hilton’s house getting robbed so many times, ya know?

  2. ninvoid99 says:

    I love this film. It’s so fun to watch and I had a hell of a time watching it while knowing that these kids will do anything to be part of that world. I think it’s Sofia’s most accessible film since “The Virgin Suicides” as well as her funniest one to date though it does get very grim towards the end.

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      Great observations. Agreed about this being Sofia’s most accessible film. Even though these kids aren’t likable at all, there’s something intriguing about the trash culture they inhibit. It helps that the story itself is so ridiculous that it has to be true.

  3. The Focused Filmographer says:

    I’ve been seeing mediocre to “okay” scores for this one. I will be seeing it soon. I like what it made your girlfriend think. Media loves to highlight stories like these and create TV shows. Lol. Nice review. Glad to know Emma nails it again. She is doing quite well in her post-hp career.

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      Haha so true, T. Yep, Watson seems to be having the most success of the Harry Potter bunch. Between this and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, she is really cementing herself as a strong young actress. Her cameo in This Is the End was great as well. 🙂

  4. sati says:

    Great review! I’ll definitely see the movie, I like Coppola’s movies, as you said Somewhere is very underrated, i thought it was great. Her directing style is so unique and I bet this one has a killer soundtrack as her other movies do.

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      Thanks! This one *does* have a killer soundtrack. It’s pretty spot-on with the party lifestyle these characters so desperately crave, so there’s stuff like Kanye, Rick Ross, Azealia Banks, etc. with a few indie jams thrown in.

  5. The Blog of Big Ideas says:

    A film for our times. It’s troubling to see all of these young kids become so obsessed with stardom for the sake of stardom, and this is a movie that illustrates the problems of the empty and superficial mentality of some of today’s youth.
    The funny thing about all of these robberies is that the celebrities that live in these homes might not even be aware that some of their crap went missing, given that they don’t tend to wear things twice or use the same piece of jewelry on more than one occasion. I mean, how “sweet” would it be to have a filthy rich neighbor who doesn’t even realize he’s being robbed.
    The choice for cast is interesting and Sofia Coppola at the chair is incentive enough to watch this film.
    Nice review

    • Eric @ The Warning Sign says:

      You nailed it, Niels. This is, unfortunately, a film for our times. Paris Hilton was robbed multiple times and she was completely oblivious about it. It wasn’t until a different celebrity posted security cam footage that it was even known that these robberies were happening. So ridiculous.

  6. The Vern says:

    Really good review, Eric You captured how I felt about this movie accureatly. I too felt that it became repetative in certain scenes but I do love that Sofia Coppola is doing something different then the usual quiet ones she does. This is one I would watch again. Emma Watson is fantastic in this role

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