The Bling Ring

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Quiet teenager Marc Hall (Israel Broussard) arrives as a new student at Indian Hills High School in Calabasas, California. Shortly after, he is befriended by fame-obsessed Rebecca Ahn (Katie Chang). While at a party at Rebecca’s house, the pair leave the party to check for unlocked vehicles on the street, taking valuables such as cash and credit cards.

When Marc mentions that one of his wealthy acquaintances is out of town, Rebecca suggests they go to his house. Marc is very uncomfortable trespassing, however Rebecca steals a handbag, mentioning that her idol, Lindsay Lohan has the same one. She also takes an amount of cash, and the keys to a Porsche, which the pair use to flee the scene. With the cash from the house, the two go on a shopping spree, affording themselves the luxury lifestyle they admired in magazines.

Marc visits a nightclub with Rebecca and her friends Nicki (Emma Watson) and her adopted sister Sam (Taissa Farmiga), and Chloe (Claire Julien), where they rub shoulders with celebrities such as Kirsten Dunst and Paris Hilton. While researching Hilton on the Internet, Marc and Rebecca realize that she will be out of town, and create a plan to rob her home. Finding the key under the doormat, the pair goes through Hilton’s belongings, taking some small items of jewelry. Rebecca then flaunts a stolen bracelet to Nicki, Sam, and Chloe at a party.

At Nicki’s request, Rebecca and Marc take her, Sam and Chloe back to Hilton’s house. The group marvel at the excess of Hilton’s lifestyle, and steal shoes, bags, dresses, cash, and jewelry. Later, Marc and Rebecca rob Hilton’s house on a third occasion. The pair also decide to rob the home of Audrina Patridge, once again using the Internet to determine when she will not be home. The entire group uses the same method to burglarize the home of Megan Fox, with Nicki’s younger sister Emily (Georgia Rock) squeezing through a pet door to gain access to the home.

The group enters the home of Orlando Bloom and his girlfriend, Miranda Kerr, and the girls proceed to steal her usual items, while Marc finds a case filled with seven of Bloom’s Rolex watches along with a roll of cash. Chloe then helps Marc sell the watches to her boyfriend, Ricky. The group returns once again to Hilton’s house, with Sam’s boyfriend Rob, who also steals from the home.

A news report releases captured CCTV footage from the robbery at Audrina Patridge’s home, which concerns Marc, however Rebecca is undeterred, and instigates a burglary at the home of Rachel Bilson. Word spreads amongst the group’s social circles, and the girls proudly boast of their accomplisments at parties, also posting photographs of the stolen items on social media sites. The group ultimately rob the home of Lohan, Rebecca’s celebrity idol. Shortly after, Rebecca moves to Las Vegas with her father due to troubles at home, leaving some of her stolen items with Marc. During this, Marc also inadvertently helps Rebecca transfer stolen items across state lines.

News reports of the Hollywood Hills burglaries intensify, with the media labelling the group ‘The Bling Ring’. CCTV from several robberies in addition to the evidence on social media allows authorities to identify the group. Police arrest Marc, Nicki, Chloe, Rebecca, Rob, and Ricky, however Sam is not identified in the footage and avoids arrest. Marc cooperates with the police, informing them on the details of the burglaries, much to the chagrin of Rebecca, who has been identified as the ringleader. A Vanity Fair journalist interviews Nicki and Marc, capturing the highly publicized story. While Marc is remorseful, Nicki vehemently suggests the others were at fault, and that she was simply involved with the wrong people. The group is ultimately prosecuted, receiving varying amounts of jail time and being ordered to collectively pay millions of dollars in restitution for the stolen items.

The group serve their jail time, and Marc and Rebecca each go into seclusion from the press. The film then cuts to a few months later where Nicki is on a talk show talking about her time in jail, where she reveals that her cell was next to Lohan’s. After digressing, she turns to the audience (and the viewers) as she finds a way to enhance her newfound notoriety, telling them to visit her now-popular website detailing her life after The Bling Ring.

REVIEW:

Long before The Bling Ring was released, everyone was in shock about how this was a more “adult” role for Emma Watson. That may have been the case, but surely there is more to this film than our little Hermione dressing like one of these no-talent “celebutantes”, right?

What is this about?

Based on fact, this comic thriller tracks the saga of the Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch, who used the Web to time their robberies of stars’ homes. The teenage band stole millions in cash, jewelry and other items from victims including Paris Hilton.

What did I like?

Vision. Sofia Coppola is one of these polarizing directors in Hollywood today. On the one hand, she burst on the scene with brilliance. I forgot the name of it right now, but it made her career. Since then, her pictures have been along a similar formula, but none really striking a chord with the audiences. With this film, she has a vision for this article turned film that is a bit interesting, at least in comparison to her other works.

Thievery. At first, it seems like these girls are just bored and need something to do. I guess that’s what happens when “you’re rich and white living in that neighborhood”, as someone so eloquently reviewed this. The fact is, they’re just doing what we all wish we could do, have a piece of the luxurious life that celebrities and fauxlebrities enjoy and flaunt in our faces.

Cast. I have commend the casting director. Not only were they able to find fresh faces, but also bring in a couple of familiar ones that we won’t complain about seeing. I can’t tell if the cast is having fun or not, with the exception of Leslie Mann, who is the bright  spot of this film. The girls just seem to be there. It is almost as if the supporting characters were more develop than the main cast.

What didn’t I like?

Advertising. Think of some random movie from like 10 or 15 years ago. Chances are, a current big star was in it, just as a small part. Some friends and I were having this discussion the other day. When that movie is re-released on DVD/Blu-ray, you can be sure that the current star, even though they may only be in there for about 5 minutes, will be plastered on the cover and get top billing. The same is true for Emma Watson here. She isn’t as big a part of the film as you would think, based on how this has been marketed, but she isn’t anything more than a supporting role, something like Amanda Seyfried in Mean Girls.

Unlikable. What is most disturbing about this film is that it is based on real people. As with any film based in real life, some liberties were taken, but for some reason, these characters were beyond unlikable. The best way that I can put it is that they make the audience feel sorry for train wrecks like Paris Hilton and, to a lesser extent, Lindsey Lohan. I bet if you were to look up the definition of vapid in the dictionary, you find these girls.

Focus. Earlier, I praised Coppola for her vision, but now I must bring up the fact that this film is not very interesting, nor is it anywhere near interesting. After awhile, it gets a bit repetitive and the audience is taken out of the audience and the next thing you know, we’re watching the finale couple of scenes as this film mercifully ends.

I almost want to say that The Bling Ring is a chick flick, except there is nothing here that lends it to that subgenre. With the exception of the lead guy and a cameo role by Gavin Rossdale, there are no males to speak of in this picture. I guess if you’re a fan of The Hills or some other similar form of “entertainment” that showcases people who are the lowest forms of life, then you’ll enjoy this. Otherwise, skip it!

2 out of 5 stars

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