Date: September 2013
Release Year: 2013, Director: Sofia Coppola, IMDB Link
Sofia Coppola has surely gained a lot of followers with her movies in the last decade. Lost in Translation is regarded as a modern classic among movie fans and critics. Personally, although I like her, I find her style a bit repetitive and unnecessarily idempotent. Her latest, effort The Bling Ring, is definitely her most mainstream and easy-to-watch movie up to date, despite the fact that it carries the same main theme and string of emotions conveyed in her previous movies.
The movie is based on the scandalous series of real life events, in which a group of high-school teenagers break into celebrity houses and steal their clothes, accessories etc. Apparently, this story sparked Coppola’s imagination and she dreamed of a scenario to understand what motivated these teenagers to perform those thefts and the emotional dynamics within their group. In the vein of her previous works, the main theme in The Bling Ring is the sense of isolation, melancholy and trying to relieve these feeling by canalizing the emotions toward physical things, such as the obsession of the teenagers with their appearance and clothes.
All of the characters in the movie have problems with their families. Although they act like they are the coolest kids at school, they are deeply unsatisfied and disappointed with their lives. This drives them to regularly break into their idol’s houses and steal their personal items so that they can get a glimpse of what it is like to be a superstar.
The plot and the style of direction convey these emotions rather elegantly, however I think the overall product is still a lesser representation of Coppola’s style. The feeling of melancholy was conveyed much better in Lost in Translation, whereas the idea of diverting an inner identity crisis with earthly pleasures was developed much deeper in Somewhere. Although The Bling Ring is certainly unique in the sense that it features a completely different plot and a set of characters, use of similar themes might upset her fans a little bit.
Having said that, from the very first scene it is evident that the movie is a product of a very tasteful director. The static glass house shot is my favorite scene and it is one of the few scenes that kept coming back to me after watching it. Not only the visual direction, but also the sense of separation and confusion are reflected so well in that scene. But also, I should say that the plot and the storyline gets a bit repetitive after certain points. I can understand that this is a director’s choice, since my guess is she wanted to emphasize the recurring themes by using repetition of the same events. But honestly, especially the second half of the movie suffers from serious tempo problems because of this choice.
I have mixed feelings about the acting. Emma Watson‘s performance is adorable but she is too over the top to be believable, which is a bit uncomfortable since the movie is supposed to be based on real events. The performance of the remaining leads vary from average to good, with Israel Broussard being the best in my opinion.
In short, The Bling Ring is a nice movie to watch with an interesting plot, tasteful directing and above average acting. If you have never seen a Coppola movie before, her style will definitely impress you. However, I found this one to be relatively less stimulating than her previous efforts.
Definitive Scenes: Exploration of Paris Hilton’s house (trivia: it is actually her real house!), the car accident, dance scene in the club, solo dance scene in front of the webcam, the glass house scene.