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The Bling Ring

(2013)
Because I like Sophia Coppolas past work enough to give any films she does a look, thats why. The Bling Ring follows a band of precocious, fame-obsessed teenagers who decides it would be fun to sneak into celebrities houses when theyre not home and help themselves to certain items. They then brag about these items and post pictures of themselves wearing it to Facebook, yet it takes security footage to track them down (you have a camera system but you leave your door unlocked). There are multiple ways you can look at this movie; Im assuming its meant as cultural commentary, but the message can be a little hard to sift out; the kids get caught in the end, but except for Marc (Israel Broussard), the only male in the group, none of them feel particularly guilty about what theyve done, only disappointed that theyve been caught. A particularly self-obsessed and onerous one, Nicki (Emma Watson) even attempts to parlay her arrest into her fifteen minutes of fame (which worked for her real life counterpart). One could come away with a message about celebrity culture and the warped worship we promote for it in this country, but I think thats the easy lesson. It struck me that the people the kids burglarize Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Audina Patridge, etc. are pretty much just well-paid versions of the kids themselves celebrities famous for being famous with no real talent (Lohan used to sort of act before she realized shed garner more publicity for just being herself). And the houses the kids trespass on are stuffed to overflowing with luxury goods Paris Hilton has a whole room just for her shoes that the kids can take a small amount of stuff and the celebrities would never notice. You cant exactly call b&e and theft a victimless crime, but its a tough argument to make other than legally that the kids are actually hurting anyone. Not that Im rooting for the kids these are exactly the type of entitled brats most people cant stand, and neither could I. And theres no good excuse for plundering other peoples treasures, even if it doesnt harm them any. But I think its a mistake to dismiss this film as merely commentary on a vapid and shallow society. The kids steal because they can, but I found the real crime here that they looked up to, admired, and emulated such empty people as mentioned above. You cant blame it on their environment, or TV; other kids see the same shows, visit the same websites, and never make the leap to burglary. Parents in this film are shown either very distantly, or in Nickis case, to be such airheads and self-absorbed themselves that they would never have any idea that their idle offspring could be up to anything so illegal. Alpha Dog made a similar point bad parents tend to raise bad kids but its not quite that simple either; these kids enter into this knowingly, first for the kicks, and then simply because they can. They seek to emulate a lifestyle where the most important values are to be rich, famous, and pretty, and simply see no moral transgressions in doing whatever they want or need to in order to acquire such a life.

All of the performances are good; Ive read some raving about Emma Watson, but I didnt find her any better or worse than the rest of the ensemble. The actors all play their parts effectively; you have no trouble believing such amoral, selfaddicted kids could exist, which is probably the saddest commentary of all. October 1, 2013