Thursday, June 13, 2013

Review: The Bling Ring

Release Date: June 21, 2013
Running Time: 90 minutes
Starring: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Leslie Mann
Who to see it with: Someone intrigued by strange crime stories and teenage foolishness


Inspired by a real crime spree that occurred in 2008 and 2009, The Bling Ring revolves around a group of teenagers who take their celebrity worship too far when they burglarize several homes. It primarily follows initially good-natured transfer student Marc (Broussard). He quickly bonds with morally challenged Rebecca and her friends, who show no remorse as they invade the stars' homes. The heists are fascinatingly uncomplicated, requiring little more than Google Maps and celebrity gossip blogs. You'd think the rich would have better security.

TBR's characters can be hard to accept. They're all quite shallow and unsympathetic, experiencing little, if any, growth by the end of the film. The plot sometimes alternates between burglaries and parties with little meaning, showing their revelry without providing much overt commentary. This distance is found in Sofia Coppola's other work, but her characters usually seem less one-dimensional. Fortunately, the actors bring the simple characters to life. Chang is both magnetic and off-putting as heartless Rebecca, and I liked seeing Watson play someone so unlike Hermione. It's often darkly funny, but also disturbing in its portrayal of teenage media obsession and casual attitudes toward crime and drug use. TBR is an interesting and surprising crime tale, but its characters' lack of depth may leave you feeling cold.

Rent it.

Fun facts: The scenes located at Paris Hilton's home were shot at her actual house, making its ridiculous Paris-themed decor funnier than anything the filmmakers could have conceived. It's interesting that the spree's biggest victim not only makes a cameo appearance but also provided access to the crime scene. The non-celebrity characters' names were changed.

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