REVIEW: The Bling Ring

3 08 2013

“Too many bowls of that grain, no Lucky Charms / the maids come around too much, the parents ain’t around enough,” sings Frank Ocean over the closing credits of Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring,” the perfect cherry on her blistering excoriation of millennial attention obsession disorder. It’s a quintessential Coppola story, containing an opportunity to reconsider the corrosive society of “The Virgin Suicides,” the clueless lives of the luxurious of “Marie Antoinette,” and the hollow celebrity culture of “Somewhere.” With her fifth feature, she swirls it all together into a darkly humorous fable with the pop of a tabloid headline turned music video.

The story is ever so lightly fictionalized from actual events where suburban L.A. teenagers harnessed the power of the Internet to rob celebrities while they were away from their homes. Curiously, they chose to steal from people who were mostly famous for their own fame, such as Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Audrina Patridge. They take plenty of clothing and accessories with them, but breaking and entering becomes like a hobby or a sport for them.

“The Bling Ring” is replete with relevant discussion topics, such as intimacy, narcissism, and connection in the era of social media – just to name a few. Nancy Jo Sales’ book, an expansion of her article from which Coppola derived the film, provides excellent commentary that manages a miraculous balancing act between rich cultural criticism and the breezy feel of a magazine article. Most of that depth is absent, however, in the film as Coppola opts to skim the surface on most issues.

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