The Bling Ring
4/5 MUST must see SEE
dir-scr Sofia Coppola
prd Roman Coppola, Sofia Coppola, Youree Henley
with Israel Broussard, Katie Chang, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Carlos Miranda, Leslie Mann, Gavin Rossdale, Georgia Rock, Stacy Edwards, Marc Coppola, G Mac Brown
release US 14.Jun.13, UK 5.Jul.13
13/US 1h30
The Bling Ring
Living the dream: Watson, Broussard and Chang

mann rossdale hilton
edinburgh film fest
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
The Bling Ring This film touches so realistically on today's youth culture that it's sometimes hard to watch. It sharply depicts teens who long to live the same high life as vacuous heroes like Paris Hilton. It's based on a true story. And echoed all around us every day.

It starts out as a game: Rebecca (Chang) sees what she can pillage from unlocked cars. Then she gets new boy Marc (Broussard) to join her, leading to evenings in flashy clubs and lots of drugs. When they read an online story that Hilton is working out of town, they look up her address and find the key under her mat. She has so much stuff that she wouldn't notice a few things missing. And after they brag about this, their fame-hungry friends (Watson, Julien, Farmiga and Miranda) join their raids.

Before they were caught, these teens stole more than $3 million worth of cash, jewellery and clothing from celebrities' homes. Coppola recreates their escapades with her usual cool detachment, never passing judgement as these kids pursue their culture's ultimate goal: instant, effortless fame. They never even break into these homes, because there's always an unlocked door or window. And after being arrested, they're so media-aware that they spin notoriety for maximum effect, clearly thrilled that their idols now know their names.

Coppola deploys a razor sharp wit and telling details that let us see right through these young people. In a naturalistic cast, Broussard is the standout in the most sympathetic role. And Watson shines as she reveals her character's duplicity. This could be mistaken for bad acting, but this girl doesn't have a personality of her own, raised by a faux spiritual coach of a mother (the brilliant Mann) to "succeed" whatever it takes.

We've never seen today's teen values portrayed quite this honestly on-screen. But we can expect more to come, because this behaviour is the only way a society can go if it's obsessed with the kind of fame that's achieved by embarrassing yourself on a reality TV show, being a celebrity without having actual talent (like Hilton or the Kardashians) or getting your face on TV for committing a crime. It may be a mugshot, but it keeps Lindsay Lohan, Charlie Sheen and Amanda Bynes on everyone's lips.

cert 15 themes, language, drugs, some violence 2.Jul.13

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© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall