Sofia Coppola has finally made a film that is not completely boring. But sadly, while having a lot of bark, it has next to no bite.
The plot revolves around the true story of a group of teens a few years ago who robbed famous celebrities houses, getting away with more than 3 million dollars in goods.
Coppola here attempts to paint a critical picture of the internet/celebrity obsessed generation that’s living right now, and to some extent does that, but not in a way that is subversive or clever. In fact she does it in a way that is the least interesting of the paths she could have gone with the film. She almost tries to ham-fist it in awkwardly during certain dialogue moments, which is distracting enough on it’s own, but made even more disappointing by the fact that there were plenty of moments where she had a perfect scenario set up to really deliver some bite and intrigue, and just simply shying away from it. Especially at the end, it was practically T-d up for her to slam down some critique, but instead we’re just left with a sense of “Yeah this happened, but why should I care?”
The chief problem is that we spend the most amount of time with the least interesting characters of the Hollywood Hills burglars, primarily Marc and Rebecca. Yes, you do get a sense of their motivations and what makes them tic, but at the same time it’s harder to sympathize with them. And I don’t believe you always have to sympathize with your leads for a film to be effective, but regardless of whether or not you are supposed to like the characters, they’ve got to be interesting. And this is something that’s plagued Coppola’s films for me, is that her films constantly portray boring people doing boring things.
Now I will say this, the film is well-acted, something Coppola has proven to be very good with. The Hollywood Hills burglars each turn in if not great, then well-done performances. It’s also almost creepy how convincingly Gavin Rossdale played a sleazy club owner who sleeps with under-age girls. The real star here though, and the reason you should eventually see this film, is Emma Watson. She is truly brilliant in this performance as this detached, material-obsessed hills girl. She absolutely destroys every scene, and is miles higher than the rest of the cast. In fact, the biggest mistake this film made was not having her be the main character. I don’t wanna say the film’s problems could have been solved that easily, but had she been the main focus, it’s almost as if all the satire and bite that the film teased would have come across brilliantly on possibly the same level as Scorsese’s The King of Comedy. At the very least, it would have been a much more engaging watch. It’s not that The Bling Ring is a bad film, it’s just a film that could have, and should have been much better.