I recently managed to watch The Bling Ring. I say ‘managed’ as it’s quite a herculean task to be able to watch most of the new foreign movies here because they don’t always release in the theatres. After waiting long enough, I don’t know if the wait was worthwhile or not. I’m yet to come to that conclusion. However, the review couldn’t wait any longer.
The Bling Ring was an article published by Nancy Jo Sales in the Vanity Fair and a recent Sophia Coppola movie. Let’s get this clear, Sophia Coppola is one brilliant director (Virgin Suicides, anyone?) and somehow I had a fixed mindset before I even watched this teen flick. Let’s say, I appreciate all her movies and adore the magic she brews from behind the camera and somehow I’m trying very hard to do so for this movie, too.
The storyline is pretty concise and can be summed up in a few sentences. A group of Californian teenagers obsessed with celebrity fashion and culture go astray and rob several famous celebrity houses with nothing but their access to Google and the darkness of the night. They go shopping in these celebrity closets and lead a meaningless, vapid life filled with too much of everything, be it partying, drugs or huge brand names.
The group is led by Rebecca whose first break-in at Paris Hilton’s with her friend Marc opens for them a whole new world of materialistic things for which they needn’t shed a penny. Later, they’re joined in with Nicki, Chloe and Sam, whose characters are as vain and difficult to like as Becca and Marc. I guess there’s a reason there wasn’t much to any of these characters. We aren’t supposed to like them. They don’t like themselves either.
By googling celebrity addresses and their whereabouts on particular nights, the teens fix a pattern to breaking-in and taking whatever they like. Mostly, on the presumption that the celebs have so much it wouldn’t be missed. Which is in fact, true. They steal jewellery, Rolex watches, expensive clothes and accessories and even carpets and paintings off the wall. Also, none of the heists are caught because the celebrities never noticed their valuables missing. The security camera footage was the first instance of them coming into the light. That doesn’t deter them either as it does not give away much of their identity.
They get caught simply because they’re all imbeciles. Vain and thoroughly stupid to brag about their heists at parties and clubs and all over Facebook. So it’s actually no surprise that they all ultimately get caught. Even Becca who moves to another state and pretends that she had nothing to do with any of it.
What I realized while writing this review is, that the whole vapidity and vacuousness of the movie was exactly the point. These teenagers, even before their breaking-in feats were rather obnoxious and had no semblance of goals in their lives whatsoever. What they most revelled in were their iPhones and their music, their social lives, ‘selfies’ on Facebook and of course their late-night shopping sprees. No one, I repeat, no one talks like that. Exclaiming “Oh my god, I love it!” to every new pair of heels (in the squeakiest tone, ever!).
I guess I do understand if not patronize the allure behind stealing fancy clothes and accessories and getting away with it. The adrenaline, the mere fascination of stepping into another life and have nothing to lose. Very alluring. But how stupid can anyone really be and think that there would be no security to those houses? Just because celebrities like Paris Hilton actually leave their keys under the mat makes me wonder why the hell would I not break-in, too. Are they, to some extent actually saying that they don’t care if any burglars take their stuff away, because they’ll always have more coming. I don’t know, and I don’t wish to find out either.
Marc: I think we just wanted to be part of the lifestyle. The lifestyle that everybody kinda wants.
It does come down to parenting, too. This movie was more about highlighting the involvement American parents have in their kids’ lives these days. When a mother involves Adderall as a regular dosage in her kid’s breakfast and home schools by asking what they have to learn from Angelina Jolie, you’ve got to wonder where the world is going to. From what the movie showed, none of the parents were all that aghast when their teens were arrested. Apart from the initial outrage and shock, they seemed to accept it calmly and be their shoulder in the court when they waited for their verdict. Appalling, rather appalling.
The reality show at the end where Nicki talks about being in the adjacent cell with Lindsay made me laugh so much at the sheer ridiculousness of it all. To think that even after everything and on being arrested Becca still wanted to know what Lindsay had to say to this.
If this movie was made in order to showcase hollow lifestyles and how little some people live for, I guess it does so superbly well. If I bring myself to give it another watch, I’ll be able to form better opinions. But who needs more of such unquenchable materialistic hungers anyway?