Sofia Coppola turns her sights from a father and daughter connecting while doing not very much in Somewhere to a group of shallow, celebrity-obsessed teens who steal from celebrity houses just for fun. Is it an astute indictment of a certain portion of today’s youth who are obsessed by fame/infamy? Or just a self-referential and self-indulgent piece of style over substance? There’s flashes of the former but ultimately it falls closer to being the latter.
Based on a Vanity Fair article entitled “The Suspects Wore Louboutins,” Coppola’s film follows the eponymous group, led by Rebecca (Katie Chang), as they rob various celebrity homes – notably Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Orlando Bloom among others – after finding out very easily from the Internet where the houses are located and if the celebrities are home or not (a simple Google search on what party they’re at that night suffices).
But while it’s fascinating at first to see how easily a group of teenagers can do this, the perpetual scenes of them walking around the houses stealing jewelry and trying on clothes becomes repetitive and dull. The characters are all thoroughly shallow and unlikeable, and I guess that’s the point but it doesn’t make up for the fact that they’re just not that nice to be around for 90 minutes.
Emma Watson is easily the star of the show, really going all out portray Nicki, arguably the most superficial member of the group. She and her adopted sister Sam (Taissa “sister of Vera” Farmiga) are home-schooled by their mum (Leslie Mann) which is either an attempt at commentary about education or just a pointless, uninteresting subplot Coppola chooses to spend time on. Other than Watson, the cast aren’t as convincing as they need to be and just stand in the shadow of the former Harry Potter superstar who’s turned it up to 11 with her exaggerated Californian accent. She’s the only one who seems to get the joke.
This is a shallow and vapid film about vapid and shallow people. It’s somewhat shocking and even entertaining to begin with as we see them break into a house for the first time but it soon becomes clear that it’s not got much else up its sleeve but more repetitive scenes of visiting a variety of celebrity houses, wandering around proclaiming how amazing all their possessions are. It certainly looks pretty and has an eclectic, booming soundtrack but it just doesn’t add up to much in the end. There’s a deep and insightful film to be made about this type of celeb-obsessed culture – The Bling Ring isn’t it.
The Bling Ring is released in cinemas on July 5th.