Sofia Coppola is not known for portraying characters with a lot of depth, instead making them out to be two dimensional. And with the events of “The Bling Ring” being based in truth, it seems like a wasted opportunity to not include more depth and insight into the characters and their actions.
“The Bling Ring” follows the story of five Los Angeles-based teenagers (Katie Chang,Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julian, and Taissa Farmiga) who, outside of being bored and shallow, decide to break into celebrities’ homes and rob them for fun.
The film flirts with the notion that the teens have an obsession with fame and the lifestyle that comes with it. They decide to take it one step further and not only rob their favorite celebrities’ homes, but also relish in the fact that they don’t get caught doing it. Coppola acknowledges the fact that the teen shave a problem, but doesn’t ever delve into any of the reasons why. These people are spoiled, shallow, and come from pretty well-off families. And aside from Watson’s home life, the film only lightly brushes the surface of the real reasons behind the robberies.
Coppola strays away from the topic completely and shifts the focus to the actual robberies and partying the characters do afterwards in celebration. It’s interesting, because this kind of film would benefit from the psychological study that Coppola doesn’t bother with. The actions themselves, which warranted a slew of media attention back in 2008, are glossed over, almost like Coppola is only offering a matter of fact retelling rather than giving an opinion or point of view on the issue. We learn nothing new from the film regarding the events and it makes for a generally disappointing and arduous watch.
The cast is decent enough. No one goes above and beyond the expectations of the film itself and so some of the performances, namely Katie Chang, do fall a little flat. But most of the blame goes to a weak script. Israel Broussard plays the most sympathetic character in the movie, Coppola not using the other characters to her advantage and trying to give Emma Watson’s character more presence in the final act.
The teens fall into a hazardous routine: stalk the internet to make sure the person isn’t home, find the address,break in (usually one of the doors is unlocked), party at the celebrities’ home, rob, and leave. When a film falls into the habit of repeating certain events over and over with no progress it’s tiresome and does drag on for a long time. It slows down the film so that by the time the teens are caught, you really won’t care about their fate.
“The Bling Ring” is long and tiresome, the pacing slow and the characters shallow and two dimensional. The film doesn’t try hard to give us a really layered story and watching selfish, spoiled teenagers robbing homes can get a little boring after a while. Coppola isn’t a bad filmmaker, but she may want to reanalyze her character stories before making another movie.