Hermione Granger & her posse steal from celebrity homes in The Bling Ring
Based on actual events, The Bling Ring follows a group of spoiled teenagers that break into celebrity homes and steal from them while they are out of state. The group’s ringleader is Rebecca (Katie Chang), who is clearly obsessed with the celebrity lifestyle and dreams of one day being a star. She recruits the school’s newest student Marc (Israel Broussard) to assist her on her celebrity home break-ins, but it isn’t long before Rebecca’s other friends find out about the break-ins and want part of the the action. In only a matter of months, this fame-obsessed group of teenage friends become known as yep, you guessed it, the Bling Ring.
I clearly remember hearing about the actual events that inspired this film back in 2008 and 2009. I found the actual story to be pretty fascinating simply because it seemed so unrealistic that a group of teenagers could break into the homes of various celebrities and no one would really notice. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that it took almost an entire year to catch these teenagers and it only happened because one of the homes, I believe it was Audrina Patridge, had surveillance set up on the property. Based on this premise alone, I was really excited to see this film.
Unfortunately, The Bling Ring will serve as one of my biggest disappointments for 2013. With such a great story, Sofia Coppola in the director’s chair, and Emma Watson as one of the film’s key players, I was truly hoping to be blown away by this film, but instead just found myself anxiously waiting for it to end. I am sure you are wondering how could this not be remotely interesting given the incredible true story, well let me explain.
First, the film’s run-time of only 90 minutes feels way too bloated. This story could have easily been told in about 30 to 60 minutes. The reason why the film feels so incredibly long is because of these long shots, where characters aren’t doing anything substantial. You have so many scenes where these kids are in the car just talking about nothing and they seem to go on forever. There is one particular scene that I felt was so incredibly random and pointless where Marc was singing and dancing. I honestly wonder why the heck that was in there.
Next, I would like to point out that none of these characters are even remotely likable, nor do we really know much about them other than they have parents that don’t pay any attention to their actions. This made this film really hard to watch simply because you didn’t even remotely know or care about any of these characters. I felt like the film just expected everyone to be so enthralled by the story that you would forgive the lack of character development, but honestly it hurt the film a lot. I think the only character, who the film attempted to give some background on was Marc, but even his story was so blah and since his character showed no emotion, it was hard to even care about him.
Out of all the people involved in the film, I really only feel that three people are worth mentioning. The first is Katie Chang. I thought that her manipulative character was great and the way that she seemed so innocent at first really made her character work. As an audience member you kind of hated her the most out of all the teens. Emma Watson played Nicki and was decent in the film. I felt that the last scene featuring her being interviewed on television showcased some of her great acting ability, but as a whole I felt like she was very underused in the film. I also had a huge issue with her being part of this film because lets face it, everyone knows who Emma Watson is, so its hard to see her surrounded by a bunch of unknowns. What makes it worse, is that she’s not even the main teenager in the film, so why the hell would you even cast a well known celebrity to steal from other celebrities in the first place? It just makes no damn sense! As for the last cast member, I have to admit that I really dug Leslie Mann as the religious obsessed mother of Nicki. I loved her character because she was so oblivious to what was going on in her life. Here she is home schooling Nicki and thinking she’s teaching her this religious way of life, yet this girl is robbing from celebrities. It was pretty comical to say the least.
Lastly, I have to say that the overall pacing and build up of this film just felt flat. There just wasn’t enough about the film to keep the audience involved with the story and with so many long shots, the majority of the story felt so long that you didn’t really care what was going on after a while. It started to just feel repetitive and drawn out. Once the film came to its conclusion, I felt like there was no real pay off to it. I would have liked so see some court cases or something, but we got nothing. What makes it more interesting is that this exact story was made into a lifetime movie in 2011, which is probably on par in terms of overall quality as this film. Its a real shame considering I could have really seen this film being one of the best and most interesting films of 2013 if it was done correctly.
All in All, while I know that this review seems mostly negative, I will have to admit that I did enjoy some elements of the film. As I said, the story in itself is interesting, the acting is fine but just isn’t anything spectacular, and Sofia Coppola’s direction is all over the place with some scenes feeling as if a first year high school film student shot them, while others felt so tight and professional. It was an odd mix. Honestly, I think if you aren’t aware of the film’s actual events then you should check this film out, but just wait till DVD or Blu-Ray, there is no reason whatsoever to pay money to see this outing on the big screen.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for The Bling Ring is a 5 out of 10.