Starring: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson
Directed by: Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”)
Written by: Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”)
In 2008 and 2009, a group of teenagers ransacked the homes of celebrities in Hollywood including Paris Hilton, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and Lindsay Lohan. Accessing some of these houses by simply walking through unlocked doors, this group of teenagers made out with a total of $3-million worth of money, jewelry, art, and other belongings. Director Sofia Coppola (“Lost in Translation”) tackles the story of these infamous teens with “The Bling Ring,” a fairly well representational albeit highly un-relatable narrative that is all shine and no spark.
The film is anchored largely by newcomers Katie Chang and Israel Broussard, who both do a decent job given their lack of experience. Their characters, along with the rest of the young crew, are underwritten and unlikeable, but are serviceable given the material provided. The rest of the cast give their best impressions of annoying California teenagers who have virtually nothing to do except offer up their thickest valley-girl accents. Even “Harry Potter” veteran Emma Watson can’t do much with what should be an interesting character to dissect psychologically. Instead, Coppola aims for uncomplicated themes like materialism and the celebrity culture and sidesteps anything with real meaning.
By far the biggest issue with “The Bling Ring” is that there is nothing to keep the film grounded, which makes any connection with the audience obsolete. What the film ends up boiling down to is pretty rich people stealing from pretty rich people. Even at a merciful 90 minutes, the film drags on due to the complete lack of fully-realized characters and a script that has more to say than, “OMG!”
Creating a film with no redeeming characters isn’t an inherently bad thing. However, an effort needs to be made to either make the characters multi-dimensional or create a story so interesting that you can’t peel your eyes away. Neither of these things is accomplished in “The Bling Ring.” It’s shallow and inapt on almost every level.