All that glitters
Sofia Coppola doesn’t do brazen confrontation but there’s a new rigour to her take on a gang of teens who ‘shopped’ to the tune of some $3 million in the houses of LA celebrities before being brought to justice. Based pretty closely on the 2010 Vanity Fair report “The Suspects Wore Louboutins” and subsequent book by Nancy Jo Sales, The Bling Ring works hard not to glamourise or pass judgment on the adolescents whose obsession with social media and celebrity gossip websites took them, via Google Maps, to the homes of Paris Hilton and Orlando Bloom.
Staying clear of distance shots in favour of close-up people-watching helps get inside the minds of gang-leader Rebecca (Chang), sole male Marc (Broussard), Nicki (Watson) et al, presenting a lost generation caught in a world of appearances, not substance. However, the movie cuts a couple of socio-economic corners and perhaps inadvertently replicates too closely an environment ruled by superficiality rather than digging deeper into a basic conundrum: when post-fem mothers get stuck in the dual rut of professional obligation and maternal ambition, some kids are bound to lose the thread.
The Bling Ring | Directed by Sofia Coppola (USA 2013) with Katie Chang, Ismael Broussard, Emma Watson. Starts August 15
Originally published in Issue #118, July/August 2013.