Thursday, July 11, 2013

In brief: The Bling Ring

About a third of the way into 'The Bling Ring' - maybe less; it's a mercifully short film - a couple of over privileged teens decide to break into Paris Hilton's palatial LA residence. Entry is effected thanks to the cat-walk strutting heiress leaving a key under the door mat. The majority of viewers at the screening I attended groaned or face-palmed. Someone muttered, loudly, "No fucking way." Reading up on the background - yup, we're in "based on a true story" territory - it transpired this actually happened. This pair of designer-clotheshorse douchebags - later joined by various in-crowd buddies - were able repeatedly to break into the house of Hilton and rip off clothes and jewellery worth hundreds of thousands because Paris Hilton left a key under her door mat.

As the film progresses, more lamentable security lapses come to light, notably Audrina Partridge, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and Lindsay Lohan's inability to simply lock their doors before they leave the premises. Nor, it would seem, does anyone who lives in Hollywood and works in the entertainment business have the slightest idea of how to programme a burglar alarm.

Thus the walk-in-marvel-at-the-designer-goods-walk-out-with-said-goods approach of our happy band of douchebags, all of whom had names and were played by people I'd never heard of before (except for Emma Watson who, to be perfectly honest with you, was the only reason I bothered with the film), but after a very short while I really didn't care and looking the cast up on IMDb hardly seems worth it for a 400 word review.

The big problem with 'The Bling Ring' is that, in depicting the actions of a bunch of vacuous nobodies obsessed with vacuous celebrities, the film becomes equally vacuous. This needn't have been the case, and a more satirical script and a sharper directorial approach could have made for an excoriating study of materialism and the dubious lure of celebrity culture. There are a few moments, particularly towards the end as the gang are unmasked and brought to trial, where writer/director Sofia Coppola comes close to engaging with the material with some degree of focus, but it's a case of too little too late. Whatever interest the last half hour generates, the first hour of 'The Bling Ring', with its desperately trendy soundtrack and oooh-look-at-me visuals, is little more than 'Hipster Douchebag: The Movie'.

(Oh, and to whoever designed the poster: it’s B&Es they’re pulling, not heists. Don’t try to dignify douchebaggery.)

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