Thursday, January 30, 2014

Wednesday Movie Night: The Bling Ring (2013)

With the not so huge successes of Spring Breakers and The Bling Ring it looks like American just doesn't want to watch movies about spoiled teenagers. I think because the movie doesn't have a great screen play it takes away from the great direction of Sofia Coppola. Maybe it's just time to get back to those Lost in Translation days! That seems to be the only well received movie she has directed as Marie Antoinette wasn't too huge either. There is something about the bright, bubblegum vibe of her movies though that do keep me coming to her movies, but The Bling Ring is the weakest in her directing so far.

Summary: Rebecca, Marc, Nicki, Chloe, and Sam are fame obsessed teens. They find a way to get closer to the stars they love after finding ways to break into their houses and steal their clothes and jewelry. Eventually the law will catch on though as they hit up houses that included Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson, and even Orlando Bloom as they are out of town.

Acting: The acting for the most part is quite good, but characters like this will just ignore you. What helps is that they are based on real people, so it's true events. Emma Watson isn't one of the forefront characters yet since she is the biggest name in the movie her face did take forefront. Watson portrays Nicki, and while I'm sure people really do act like this character there was something that just didn't feel natural about Watson's performance who is generally a good actress. She captures the personality well, but it never feels as natural as other performances like the lead Katie Chang as Rebecca. Chang was much stronger in her role, and she captured the personality without feeling unnatural at it better. Israel Broussard is Marc, and really just not a great choice. He falls into his own by the end of the movie, but he adds no depth to the character, and sometimes his lines just come off stagnant when he says them. Claire Julien is Chloe, and Julien also gives a good performance, and seems a lot natural in her role than Watson as well. There are some other faces you might recognize here as well like Leslie Mann as Nicki's mom who isn't too different or spectacular, and Gavin Rossdale as Ricky, a guy who buys some of their stolen goods at a club. Rossdale was awkward anytime he was on screen, so whoever cast him just had a bad idea.

Filming: The movie really shines when it comes to Coppola's directing. Maybe this is what she got so caught up in that the rest just got forgotten. The way the movie is shot is just beautiful though. It's bright, it's peachy, and yet captures a lot of the serious nature of what is happening as well beneath the lighter substance. I loved the movie is shot in a way that gets you in the moment. Coppola goes for atmospheric and achieves it with her directing. A lot her scenes go from loud and wild with music to other times capturing scenes in silence that somehow make us want to reach for a little more with the characters yet it never happens.

Plot: The plot revolves around events that did really take place, so if you follow the news or pop culture a lot you might have heard about it. The thing is the story could be very interesting and one where you could go to a lot of places with the characters, but yet the movie seems to be caught up on the loud music and making great looking scenes that it forgets the characters. The plot begins well. We see a kid, Marc, who is awkward, new, and trying to fit in with his classmates yet he doesn't. So when he meets this girl, Rebecca, he finds somewhere to belong. We never go much deeper though. Sometimes there are moments where the characters share something that you want to dig deeper into like how the culture seems to be obsessed with fame and having ties to it, or how Rebecca even abandons Marc friendships once they are caught, but everything is but a blip on the map as the movie just chugs on without stopping to think more on the ideas.

The Bling Ring is short and an entertaining movie enough to pass the time. I couldn't help but keep thinking of Spring Breakers when watching this and how they both contain elements I wish both would have involved from each other. Spring Breakers fails to try to explain what the audience just watched and why, and The Bling Ring fails to give us characters any deeper than the pretty pictures.

Rating 6 of 10.

The Bling Ring (2013) on IMDb

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