When it was announced that Sofia Coppola was directing a movie about the teenagers who “broke-in” and robbed Hollywood and Los Angeles star’s homes, the real-life “Nicki,” a girl called Alexis Neiers was quoted as saying “I hope that this movie doesn’t just tell the story of Los Angeles teens robbing houses.” Unfortunately, Miss Neiers will be disappointed.
There is nothing much to The Bling Ring but the story of privileged, well-off teens robbing the homes of stars so rich and famous that they don’t know they’ve been robbed until they have seen the security footage. There isn’t some under-lying message about the state of teenagers today. This movie doesn’t try to comment on society, wealth or education. This is a film purely about robbing houses of people you know but probably don’t care about.
It means that after the first twenty minutes, the movie is really just rob houses, try on clothes, plan another robbery, rob more houses and then repeat. The fact that these teenagers can walk into people’s homes, not break-in but walk-in, is one of the more interesting elements. As is the idea of Paris Hilton, one of the people actually robbed by the real-life Bling Ring, offering up her home to the movie to add authenticity.
To most people, the movie will slowly infuriate. Not only do these teenagers rob other people’s houses but they also flaunt their misdeeds with little to no remorse. It is no wonder they got caught as Coppola portrays their actions and stupidity with no filter, showing how obnoxious these characters really are.
There could be another film here as well. It has ingredients of other movies, particularly the new wave of teenager indie films like Me, Earl and The Dying Girl. The character of Marc, played by Israel Broussard, seems like the disillusioned, lonely teen who is ready to meet the girl who will shake-up his world, in this case Rebecca played by Katie Chang. The problem with this is that Marc and the other characters aren’t appealing enough or charming enough to care about the level that kind of film requires.
All of these faults makes it so much more surprising when the film engages. You’ll never be bored while you watch The Bling Ring because the incredulous story and bizarre true life tale will shock you enough to want to keep watching. There is also something enticing about seeing characters so obnoxious getting their comeuppance, particularly Emma Watson’s Nikki.
This is Emma Watson getting out from under the spotlight of Hermione and while she is far from the star of the movie, she definitely makes her mark, almost stealing the final act of the movie. It is refreshing seeing the actress playing a new type of role and while this won’t necessarily define her career, it is a step in a new, diverse direction.
Overall, The Bling Ring is entertaining but for reasons you won’t expect. The characters are obnoxious, the story repetitive and shallow and the plot thin but compelling. You will want to watch as the teenagers get their “just desserts,” particularly Emma Watson’s Nikki.
Rating – 3
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