Sofia Coppola grew up in a highly privileged background; this is clearly evident in films such as Somewhere in which her family’s Hollywood background is a main theme of the film. The Bling Ring is again set in a highly privileged background, Southern California, and it concerns a group of teenagers (dubbed The Bling Ring) who tour around Hollywood hills looking for celebrities’ home to rob whilst their occupants are away on a film shoot or partying.
You would have to go a long, long way to find a group of people as unlikeable as those depicted here. Shallow, immoral and obsessive this group of thieves are obsessed with the superficial world of fashion and fame. The members of the Bling ring are just as shallow as the world from which they rob; they believe that a person’s physical appearance is be all and end all. These youths lack authority, and need a slap in the face from reality. These are my opinions of such characters, Sofia Coppolla on the other hand does not make such definite judgements on her characters, however she certainly doesn’t condone their behaviour.
The Bling Ring is a satire of current American society (Britain is no different, and I doubt is most of Western Europe) of Facebook Selfies, celebrity worship and superficial adoption of the latest trends and fashions. The last one in particular is something almost every teenager goes through, a teen’s biggest fear is, according to various polls, being unpopular and not having the latest fashion accessory. Sofia captures this aspect of culture among the youth in an amusing way, the endless Selfies taken by the characters in various clubs in reminiscent of any young person’s Facebook wall.
What is also done well is the obsession that some have with celebrities, the gang admire the riches, the clothes and the pad of those very people they rob. They want what they have because the already over privileged life they lead quite simply isn’t enough. This is where Coppola takes aim at gossip websites, magazines (such as Heat) and the paparazzi which are all used by the teenagers as means of finding out which celeb is away promoting a film or attending a party. The Bling Ring are like the paparazzi, they invade the privacy of the celebs (who do open the door for them somewhat) and steal their possessions, and in the case of the paparazzi their secrets, which will be planted all over the media the very next day. Three groups of people are responsible for the thefts the thieves, the paparazzi and the celebs themselves.
The casting of Emma Watson (Nicki Moore) is an interesting one because Emma Watson is the type of person people will gape and gawp at every time she is noticed in the street. This may bring about an issue as the actress playing Nicki Moore is the type of person that Nicki and the gang would rob. One would think that such a famous actress playing such a role would cause problems, but Watson is convincing enough to pull it off. The same can be said for the rest of the cast (majority of them unknown), Israel Broussard’s Nick Purgo is a somewhat sympathetic character, his desire to fit in somewhere, anywhere (like most teenagers) led him down a path of criminality.
The Bling Ring is a beautiful film (shot by Christopher Blauvelt) that depicts ugly people, though physically they are good looking, in a satirical way. The young can relate to the satire and culture depicted in the film as The Bling Ring makes for interesting viewing.