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Thoughts On : The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring is a film directed by Sofia Coppola, depicting the crime scenes of the infamous Bling Ring gang that had been burglarizing Hollywood homes for their benefit (side note: since when was burglarizing not for the suspects' benefit?). The film was based on an article that appeared on Vanity Fair that discussed the incidents. I would write my review in paragraph form, but at the risk of sounding incoherent, I'd thought I'd list them down instead.

1. It had a very Sofia Coppola feel to it. The atmosphere, the way it was filmed, the interjection of music and the lack of it, scenes that depict to be artistic interpretations - it's all there. Harris Savides worked on this - and he also did Somewhere, which in itself is a very visual film.

2. The content, however was abysmal. It's sensationalizing the wrong doings of these teenagers, and the film serves as a marketing propaganda to those who aspire the same things they do. Of course, they won't make the same mistakes (hopefully), but it might send the wrong message to these peers. Considering these teenagers got off easy, they could easily be role models for their peers - and for the wrong reasons. 

3. She must have reasons for doing this film. I think her concerns for showing such a film is not so she could be criticized for her upscale upbringing. She probably thought it was a story worth painting a picture of. Just because the content of the film was something that I thought shouldn't be sensationalized doesn't give me the right to tell her what to do.

4. In relation to that, I think that the upscale lifestyle that she focused on shouldn't be taken against her. After all, that is the theme of the film, and it's to her advantage that she's familiar to the lifestyle because she will know how to approach it. Whether she did approach it in a realistic manner or not is up to us to decide. 

5. If you're expecting some sort of deeper context in all of this, don't. Coppola placed a group of bored rich teenagers on screen and we saw a cinematic version of how they are and what they did. They neither have any personality, nor anything remotely related to what makes them stand out. There is no deeper context in this. It's a crime story, told in a glitzy, glamorous, Coppola way. I liked how the characters were vapid and didn't come from sob stories or any dramas (particularly the Rebecca character - Coppola could have used the whole family issue as a strong suit, but she didn't). The characters had some relative background, but nothing that would make the audience see some goodness, or reasoning as to why they were doing such things. Sure, she showed some kind of reformation scenes from some of the characters, but she doesn't give us the need and the want to sympathize with them. It's up to the viewer to make their own judgement.

6. I'm sorry I have to say this, but Emma Watson was the film's poster girl. It might have something to do with the woman she's portraying - how she has her own show, and all. Based on the films I've seen, this is one of Coppola's works where a high profiled celebrity is featured and Emma Watson has people drawn in to see her work. Nothing against Watson at all, but she was really hyped when it came to marketing the film.

7. I pretty much have mixed feelings about this. It's hard to appreciate the cinematic aspects about this, if the content itself is something not worth my time. I saw the film because I want to know what the deal was, see number 6, and it's Sofia Coppola, so it must be at least good, in terms of film making.


Final Word: This is a very hyped film, but overall, her other works precede this. If you're interested in the whole Hollywood lifestyle tale, I suggest seeing Somewhere instead.

Cast: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson
Director: Sofia Coppola
Year: 2013

Comments

  1. I enjoyed The Bling Ring, but you're right about Watson not being anything too special. Her accent was in and out. I didn't feel the film sensationalized it though. I thought it did a good job of showing how ridiculously shallow some teenagers are. Plus, I shamefully watched Pretty Wild (the reality show that one of these girls' was filming before she got arrested) A lot of it was pretty spot on.

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    1. It actually did show how shallow these people are - what I meant by sensationalizing it to their peers is that there are other people who are just like them, and might think of it the same way they did when they were doing those crimes. The fact that there's a film out there about their wrong doings (and the reprimand was not grave as opposed to other cases) can be sending the wrong message to people who think like them. Sorry if my thoughts didn't exactly get that across.

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  2. Nice breakdown, although I disagree. I felt that this didn't glorify their behavior, but showed the ridiculousness of it all and painted these children as spoiled and soulless, which was the intent. It also pointed a finger at the media for encouraging this behavior.

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    1. I do agree that these children are very shallow and spoiled. I thought that the movie glorified their behavior to those that think like them, or are like them in some way. We don't really know how everyone perceived the story (though there is a general consensus), and the film might be sending that wrong image to those people. When I wrote the first statements, I was thinking that there might be teenagers who had similar traits to the persons involved, and I thought that maybe it's possible for other people to copy what they did, but in different way.

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  3. Screw these kids, yo! Any press for them whatsoever, is bad press. Good review.

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    1. They shouldn't have been hyped much by media - now they have a movie based on them!

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  4. I wasn't a fan of Somewhere at all but I have to admit that it's till better than this. Overall it just felt so pointless and shallow.

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    1. Somewhere is indeed better than this. Despite it looking good onscreen, I'm not really for the content - I don't see why she had to give them a film, but she might have her reasons.

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  5. I absolutely agree about Watson -- I love her, but she was just a poster girl here. I loved Somewhere, but I'm starting to think I'm actually not that into Coppola, because I was so disappointed in this (everything you said!) and The Virgin Suicides, too.

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    1. Somewhere is loads better than this. I'm not quite a fan of The Virgin Suicides as well, but that might not be entirely the film's fault, as I found the novel a bit dull.

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