Director: Sofia Coppola. American Zoetrope/NALA/Pathe et al (15)
Producers: Roman Coppola, Sofia Coppola, Youree Henley.
Writer: Sofia Coppola.
Camera: Christopher Blauvelt, Harris Savides.
Music: Daniel Lopatin, Brian Reitzell.
Sets: Anne Ross.
Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Claire Julien, Taissa Farmiga, Georgia Rock, Leslie Mann, Carlos Miranda, Gavin Rossdale.
A group of Los Angeles teenagers take to breaking into the homes of absent/holidaying celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Lyndsey Lohan and make off with as much as they can carry in jewels, cash, clothing and drugs and parasitically enjoy the high-life that such accoutrements yield on the L.A. party scene. But the law is soon hot on their heels.
Coppola, not the old one but his daughter, is now into her fifth feature length film as a director and continues to show a flair for tackling bold and visually beautiful things.
Her previous films have had a certain dreamlike quality to them and a tendancy to linger rather longer than expected on surfaces, textures, acquisitions and artifice, so The Bling Ring is a fruit that doesn’t fall far from the autuer’s tree.
Like her Marie Antoinette (2006), there is an outrageously obscene amount of screen time devoted to loving shots of shoes, fur and hats but rather than accessing their Laboutins via a socially advantageous marriage, these girls simply jump a hedge or fence, enter suspicioualy non-secure houses (are Angelenos really this trusting?) and commence a nab-happy night out. Sofia, more than any other American director of the moment, is able to encapsulate the flippancy and awesomeness of youth than any other.
Coppola has a kind of punk way of presenting the issues she wants her narrative to address, an almost amateurish way of handling of her story and actors, but it works precisely because this is the milieu she is focusing on. And these kids, being based in a postal code just outside of the Hollywood dream factory, are unlike any others around, so as the daughter of the esteemed movie maker Francis Ford, Coppola knows more than most the unique external glitter pressure that can bear down on them. Our narrator Broussard notes that “Everyone let us in…we had so many beautiful gorgeous things”; possessions equal access in the objet obsessed society they find themselves in.
Coppola also trails closely alongside Quentin Tarantino in terms of utilising her soundtrack to set the coolest of tones and to place her story slap-bang on target with the right social setting and personalities of the characters involved. The film’s album is worth buying alone.
There are some spot on, louche and fizzy performances from this very young cast, particularly Chang as the chillingly detached anti-hero, perfectly in step with the distant and hollow tone that her director adopts and Julien as the seriously laid back Chloe. Mann also has fun as a seriously whacked out, moon-unit Mom. The only false note is Watson as Mann’s daughter Nicki. Talk about acting from a cue card. She displays the usual flaccid, middle of the range , bland Manhattan-cum-Valley-Girl accent and seems to jut her body forward as she over exaggerates every ‘r’ for effect. She is, like, soooooo not awwwwwwwesome.