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Review: The Bling Ring

PUBLISHED: 09:46 04 July 2013 | UPDATED: 09:46 04 July 2013

The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring

Archant

Sofia Coppola continues her chronicling of the alienation of wealth and fame with this true story about affluent LA High School students who rob from the rich to keep for themselves.

Inspired by a 2010 feature in Vanity Fair magazine entitled The Suspects Wore Louboutins, it dramatises the outlandish true story of a group of bored, celebrity-obsessed teenagers, who earned a celebrity status of their own when they broke into the houses of the rich and fabulous to pilfer their designer couture, eventually getting caught after “going shopping” at the home of Lindsay Lohan.

Self-conscious loner Marc Hall (Nick Prugo) nervously arrives at high new high school and is delighted when Rebecca Ahn (Katie Chang) takes him under her wing. She initiates him into her coterie of fashion-conscious teens: Chloe (Claire Julien), Nicki (Emma Watson) and Sam (Tess Taylor).

Rebecca follows Paris Hilton’s every move and when she learns that the socialite will be out of town at a high profile party, she encourages Marc to find Hilton’s address so they can break in and rifle through her clothes.

When the police fail to come a-knocking, the gang begin to make nocturnal visits to the homes of other celebrities including Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan. However, the group’s expanding wardrobe of designer fashions does not go unnoticed by their classmates and eventually other students alert the police to the thieves in their midst.

Faced with a script where much of the dialogue is ‘Wows’, ‘No Ways’ and ‘Oh My Gods’, it initially feels like a trite, facile condemnation of a trite, facile lifestyle (much like her previous film Somewhere), but Coppola’s film slowly reveals itself to be something a bit more than that.

What The Bling Ring has is a finely balanced moral ambiguity. In many ways, the gang’s activities are quite harmless.

They enter the properties when they know that the celebrity is out of town through unlocked doors or windows or by using keys left under the mat and take from people so ludicrously over-rewarded that they usually don’t notice anything is missing.

Yet, at the same time, there is a marvellously understated sense of the levels of hostility bubbling under these home invasions.

Coppola is aided by fine performances from all her cast, especially Katie Chang. Throughout the film, her face looks open and serene, like a flower soaking up the sun while conveying layers of hidden menace.

THE BLING RING (15)

Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga and Leslie Mann

Length: 90 mins

***

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