Cannes 2013: Sofia Coppola's 'The Bling Ring' is Empty Entertainment

May 16, 2013

The Bling Ring

This seems to be the year of the exaggerated "American dream" and excess along with it being highlighted in films. Besides Spring Breakers and Pain & Gain, one of the other exposes on excess is the latest film from Sofia Coppola, titled The Bling Ring. I've been anticipating this ever since the first trailers and caught the first premiere of it at the Cannes Film Festival. Unlike Spring Breakers, the film doesn't have any depth, or nuance, or dark humor, it's nothing but a hollow, lightweight portrayal of excess and a group of vacuous teens obsessed with it. Yea, there's fun underage larceny going on but that's about it. There's not much else.

The story in Bling Ring is based on real events from a few years ago, about a group of lavish, shallow teens obsessed with celebrities who lackadaisically decide to rob their houses when they're out of town. Alas, that's all that we really get to see, there's not much exploration of setup or their motivation besides their desire for excess. The film is actually focused on the sole male member in the crew, Marc, played by Israel Broussard, who gives some commentary but by the end of the film literally explains in one sentence during a "police interview" the entire message of the film - that our culture is obsessed with excess. With films like Spring Breakers, it's obvious this can be made into some amusing commentary, but that's not the case here.

My problem with the movie lies in the fact that all of the characters were as vapid and careless as everyone they were robbing. And worse than that, the performances from just about everyone in the film were amateur. Even Emma Watson gave a performance that felt empty, cliched and totally grating. Then again, she may have just been playing those kind of celebrity-obsessed teens perfectly. But that's why I couldn't stand them. There's nothing to it besides these boring folks stealing from boring celebrities. There's never any lessons learned, there's never any exploration into the desires of excess and the outcomes, it's pretty much only a portrayal of the events through Coppola's lens. I much prefer her past work, even Somewhere.

As much as I was hoping for some redeeming values, something to appreciate about the film, there wasn't much. I couldn't even stand Emma Watson for more than 15 minutes. Even the soundtrack is lackluster and overly-obvious, with tracks like "Super Rich Kids" (the closing credit song). It's almost as if Sofia Coppola doesn't actually understand this culture of excess, as if she's floating in the space inbetween celebrity status and the obsessed teens, and could only capture its existence but not much more. As in, she made a movie about "Super Rich Kids" obsessed with stealing items from other "Super Rich Kids". It even skips the legal details and break-in specifics, and jumps to a boring conclusion at the end. Watch Spring Breakers instead.

Alex's Cannes Rating: 3 out of 10

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  • Bl00dwerK
    People, I bet, will still watch it because of their boners for Emma Watson...
    • Nielsen700
      Oh yes I will.
    • DavideCoppola
      Or you know because Sofia Coppola is a great writer and director.
      • Bl00dwerK
        Appearantly not this time around...
  • I would imagine it would be hard for a bunch of rich Hollywood stars to pretend to hate rich Hollywood stars.
    3/10. Ouch. I will stay away. Shame though. I thought it would have been better.
  • In other words, the film didn't have enough CG for Alex. The whole point of the film is that these rich, spoiled kids ARE empty, entitled twats. You're not supposed to like them. They're a product of a culture that glamorizes fame, wealth, and beauty. The film mocks this kind of lifestyle/mentality. I guess Sofia Coppola needed to have some zooming CG titles somewhere in the film to underline these points for the popcorn munchers out there.
    • JC Tenney
      I've actually seen several tweets and reviews along this same line. Sounds like it was a bit of a disappointment from most of what I've heard. Not sure why you think it's due to a lack of CG...Alex likes plenty of movies with no special graphics going on.
    • DavideCoppola
      That's unnecessarily offensive, and let's not get personal here. Sure it isn't everyone's tastes and I look forward to this more than anyone, but come on..
      • Britain Roush
        any relation to the director?
  • harharryhar
    The character that Emma Watson is supposed to be an empty headed, shallow celebrity wannabe. If she has annoyed you that means she has done a wonderful job. She is playing the character inspired by Alexis Neirs. I am sory but you seem to have gotten it completely wrong.
  • zey
    I can't imagine sitting through this. You have my sympathies, Alex.
  • whoa
    3/10? Really? pff..
  • Nielsen700
    Was really looking forward to this one. Fuck.
  • DavideCoppola
    Well, it seems like every year there's that one film I really look forward to, last year it was Amour, and of course you really hate it :) Tastes..
  • Ehsan Davodi
    I think if i don't see BLING RING just because its not delivers what SPRING BREAKERS delivers or because theme of COPPOLA's Art says that Super Rich Kids are good or bad that would be some kind of shame for me.
    • DavideCoppola
      So.. Are you gonna watch it or not?
      • Ehsan Davodi
        Are you kidding me mr.coppola? SURE , ABSOLUTELY , DEFINITELY I WILL SEE IT, WHY NOT? I think there must be difference between Vanessa Hudgens or Selena Gomez with Emma Watson and this two films(Bling Ring/Perks Of Being Wallflower) exactly depict that. If you see perks of being wallflower you know what im taking about. Already , i write if Emma didn't challenge herself with tough dramatic roles , she fade very soon and i think with perks of wallflower and bling ring she made right decision. And miss.Coppola!! I think Lost In Translation an Virgins Suicide shake me bad and have special place in my heart!! and proved me she can always say something worthy EVEN IN HER WEAK WORKS. (sorry,i don't have access to internet)
        • DavideCoppola
          Oh cool! Sorry I wasn't sure I got what you were saying. Cheers mate :)
  • T-850
    I think I'm more intrigued with the fact that you thought Spring Breakers had depth.
    • DavideCoppola
      It had depth and I'm sure The Bling Ring has too, although maybe less obvious/in your face.
    • Sahil
      seriously. i'm pretty sure this film is as vapid as alex claims but don't pretend like spring breakers wasn't either
      • Greg dinskisk
        It wasn't vapid......
  • Anthony
    I don't think the reviewer gets it, the Bling Ring is a SATIRE. Does Alex know what that means? The movie is very clever it is clearly pointing out the hypocrisy of American society. American pop culture tells teens they should look up to idiots like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan and so the kids steal to feel connected to them. These kids are middle class, privileged and bored. The movie is clearly making fun of American pop culture obsession with idiots like Paris Hilton.
    • Greg dinskisk
      Did you see it?




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