Review: The Bling Ring (2013, Sophia Coppola)

bling-ringRATING: 6/10

Director: Sophia Coppola
Cast: Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Georgia Rock, Leslie Mann, Carlos Miranda
Screenplay: Sophia Coppola

Finally, I was able to go and see Sophia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring”, the other day, but I was saddened to realize that the film (apart from it’s fun editing, stylish cinematography…and, well “bling”) could hardly hold up to Coppola’s past works that have been deemed by cinephiles as modern masterpieces. As the film ironically tried to feed us the message of what media could do to us, I began to loose interest in the film’s actual storyline and was more interested in the technicality of it all, which, by the way isn’t ground shattering filmmaking.

Pop culture has told us a lot about this film before any of us even got to see it. It told the true story of how five well-to-do teenagers stole from some of the hottest celebrities in Hollywood, just for the thrill and sake of it. This included Sophia’s young ensemble cast led by Isarael Broussard, including Katie Chang, Emma Watson, Claire Juliet and Taissa Farmiga. Though the acting wasn’t the film’s weakest point, Coppola’s screenplay was too weak and clouded to be able to truly show the true colours of story of these Hollywood brats. Which in fact, is pretty interesting on paper.

Coppola wowed most of us earlier on in her career, with such art house flicks like “The Virgin Suicide” (2000) and “Lost in Translation” (2003). However, could she have done this movie better 10 years ago with some of her favourite young actresses like Dunst and Johansson? I’m not saying that the cast was bad, but with a screenplay that she produced, a more talented bunch could have been a big improvement along side her direction. Sophia Coppola, of Hollywood royalty, is a very acclaimed and capable director. Unfortunately, the did not stand out and remains to be mediocre.

There is an exception with Emma Watson, though. I know, I know, I’m being biased because she is the biggest from the stars in the film. But, with reason. Watson was spot on as the carefree and rather locco Nikki, who’s obsessed mannerisms and fake attitude is just what the film needed. She was sassy and but also very “plastic”. My biggest disappointment would be her partner in crime, Taissa Farmiga, who caught my eye in a remarkable performance as Violet in the first season of “American Horror Story”. I don’t know if she was just under appreciated in the screenplay writing process or what, but she was ultimately the most unexciting from the bunch.

Overall, it was an “okay” (just “okay”) effort for Coppola. Apart from the true actual “bling” showed in the film (who doesn’t love the glamorous life, right?), the film’s potential started to wind down from a great beginning to a mediocre and boring ending. I only remained to see how it played out, but of course, appreciate the finer things in life taken in by spoiled brats who wanted it their way. Or did I just not get the message?

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