24. The Bling Ring (R) - Runtime: 90 minutes
Starring: Emma Watson, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard
Director: Sophia Coppola
Writer: Sophia Coppola
Before this movie, I could not decide whether I'm with Sophia Coppola or not. I really enjoyed Marie Antionette and The Virgin Suicides, but thought her most celebrated work, Lost in Translation, was just too pretentious and up its own butt. This was probably Maggie's most anticipated movie this year (by far) and almost broke down and cried (not really, I exaggerate for comedic effect) because of the limited release in New York and LA last week. Thankfully, it expanded and the first chance we got - we watched with glee. I'm officially a Sophia Coppola fan.
Based on a true story, the film mainly follows Marc, a transfer student who quickly finds himself a new juvenile delinquent friend named Rebecca. Their first night together, they jack some cars on a street by just checking to see which ones were unlocked. But Rebecca is unsatisfied, quickly coming up with the brilliant idea of robbing Paris Hilton while she's away from home. They find her address online and luckily enough, they find the key to the place under that mat and no alarm! It wouldn't be so absurd if it wasn't true! Obviously things escalate and more kids get involved and inevitably their casual attitude towards breaking and entering rears its ugly head and gets them caught.
It's quite a tale - these are all privileged rich kids who practically worship the celebrities that live around them. The film shows how shallow and care free they are about everything - they even post most of their stolen evidence on Facebook for everyone to see! Even if you know what happens to all the characters in real life it's still astonishing to see it happen on screen. It wasn't about the money or the clothes and accessories they stole - it's that they could live like these celebrities without actually doing anything but opening up a side door. And the film isn't shy about showing how none of the kids have learned any lessons. If anything - they've only become a bigger part of the problem - they all seem to think The Bling Ring has made them famous in the most flattering way.
Coppola portrays the story with an ironic detachment most hipsters would admire. The music seems authentic while also being simultaneously hilarious. I can clearly picture these young white girls rapping along with the thug music while in their cars all the time. Everything about the movie will have you shaking your head but also quietly bobbing it too! It's a really well-edited movie that knows when to shock (the car accident) and when to play it cool (the group shot of all the kids walking down the sidewalk).
The cast is phenomenal, too. But Emma Watson is the brightest spot - I can't explain it fully, but her affectation when she speaks makes you immediately click your tongue in disgust. "I just wahnt to RAWB." she says with deadpan delivery. I hope she gets some consideration for an Oscar because she's simply fascinating to watch. Katie Chang and Israel Broussard are excellent standouts as well - Chang with her cool, girl next door vibe as the ring leader, Rebecca and Broussard with his starry-eyed, puppy dog affection for Rebecca as Marc.
This movie can please mainstream audiences and hipsters alike. It's that good! You'll find yourself drawn to these characters for all the wrong reasons and maybe even feel a bit of sympathy? I don't know, but I think multiple viewings are in order to uncover the deeper layers to this story and the characters. Seriously, this movie is dope.
Rating: See It!