The Bling Ring | Film Reviews | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

The Bling Ring 

Using superficiality to capture superficiality

Pin It
The Bling Ring
  • The Bling Ring

If it weren’t for the endless parade of cinematic apocalypses, 2013 at the movies might go down as The Year of Vapid Materialism Gone Criminal. Already we’ve seen Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers and Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain exploring the dark side of hedonistic entitlement; now Sofia Coppola brings us the fact-based story of The Bling Ring, throwing out similar content without actually finding a point of view.

The names have been changed, but Coppola retains the basics of the Vanity Fair article that explored a group of Southern California teens—Rebecca (Katie Chang), Marc (Israel Broussard), Nicki (Emma Watson) and friends—who discover that it’s surprisingly easy to keep tabs on when the fashionista celebrities they worship are away from home. And when the celebs are away, that’s the perfect time for Rebecca and company to break into the houses and steal jewelry, cash and plenty of expensive clothes.

Coppola appears to take a purely anthropological interest in these kids’ and their crime spree. One break-in follows another in more or less the same manner, the thieves gasping over the designer dresses, shoes and purses before they high-tail it and show off their loot on Facebook. The one exception, in which Coppola shoots a break-in in a single take from a distance, makes terrific use of a largely glass building emphasizing the in-plain-sight brazenness of the crimes. Otherwise, it’s hard to grasp why we see this particular number of home invasions, and not one more, or one fewer.

It’s not automatically a deal-breaker that Coppola doesn’t shake a moralizing finger, or attempt quick psychoanalysis of her characters’ motivations. But the few jokes at the expense of their lack of self-awareness clang up against a generally affectless chronicling of their bad behavior. There has to be a way besides superficiality to capture superficiality.



Katie Chang, Israel Broussard. Emma Watson
Rated R

Twitter: @ScottRenshaw

Pin It

Speaking of ,

  • Walk of Shame, The Lego Movie

    New DVD/VOD Tuesday, June 17
    • Jun 16, 2014
  • Drinking-Class Zero

    Following a night of drinking, Wendy Simpson, 25, walked to a McDonald’s restaurant in West Yorkshire, England, where she was told that the counter was closed and only the drive-through was open but that she couldn’t be served
    • Jun 16, 2014
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2

    Dragon 2 shows DreamWorks is still willing to be daring
    • Jun 13, 2014
  • More »

More by Scott Renshaw

  • Movie Reviews: New Releases for Dec. 4

    Another Round, Godmothered, Nomadland, The Prom and more
    • Dec 3, 2020
  • Vagabond Issues

    Nomadland paints pretty pictures without noting root causes of rootlessness.
    • Dec 2, 2020
  • Slope's On

    What to expect from an unusual ski season at Utah resorts.
    • Dec 2, 2020
  • More »

Latest in Film Reviews

  • Vagabond Issues

    Nomadland paints pretty pictures without noting root causes of rootlessness.
    • Dec 2, 2020
  • Star Power

    Melissa McCarthy leans on a different range of talents in the charming Superintelligence.
    • Nov 25, 2020
  • If the Bootstrap Fits

    With its author's rhetoric toned down, Hillbilly Elegy lacks a point of view
    • Nov 11, 2020
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • A Dream Come True

    After half a lifetime, Savannah Ostler's Twice the Dream becomes reality.
    • Apr 17, 2019
  • Simple Creatures

    The monster movie Sputnik can't deliver the subtext it promises
    • Aug 12, 2020

© 2020 Salt Lake City Weekly

Website powered by Foundation