“The Bling Ring” is writer/director Sofia Coppola’s latest film about burglaries that took place in 2008 and 2009 in the Hollywood Hills. The film’s opening credits are smeared with shots of celebrities, Facebook and glitzy material possessions — all key factors in this film.
Enter Marc (Israel Broussard), a former homeschooler, who is soon-to-be corrupted. On his first day at a new school, he’s taken under the wing of Rebecca (Katie Chang), and they bond over a love and knowledge of fashion and celebs.
Like a burglarizing pimp, Rebecca eases Marc into the lifestyle of a high-class thug — from lifting purses from cars to stealing a Birkin bag from a home and onto grand theft auto. Emma Watson and Taissa Farmiga jump in as adopted sisters, hungry for fame and brand-name clothes.
Through social media, Google maps and TMZ, this group of teens prey on the celebrities they idolize: Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, Audrina Patridge, and it’s shocking how the Internet can make celebrities easy targets.
The first burglary is of Paris Hilton’s pad (her actual home was used in the film). Characters take stock of Paris’ excessive belongings, name-dropping one fashion designer after another amid oceans of shoes, jewels and couture.
At one point, Nicki (Emma Watson) asks, “Why does she have two of these?” And as a viewer, it’s difficult not to second her sentiments. They steal thousands of dollars worth of stuff and even revisit Paris’ home several times afterward.
Each character shoots photo after photo of their stolen goods in burglarized celebrity homes. They post their images to Facebook, brag about their break-ins in public and invite others to join. All of this leads to their eventual arrests.
Writer/director Coppola portrays their high-class lifestyle, all-nighters at celebrity clubs and expensive wardrobe with a pace that draws viewers in. Coppola reinforces the power and influence of voyeurism, celebrity fixation and through the lens, she sells a disillusioned image of wealth and glamour. It’s definitely worth a watch.
“The Bling Ring”
Starring: Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard.
Written, directed: Sofia Coppola.
Available for rent: Netflix, Blockbuster.