Sofia Coppola’s tales of the rich and famous continue from where they left off in Somewhere and Marie Antoinette with The Bling Ring, the true story of the Hollywood Hills Burglars, or ‘Bling Ring’; a group of teenagers who burgled the houses of celebrities for $3 million worth of clothes and cash in 2009, before being arrested and jailed.
The story starts off in Calabasas, California, where shy fashion-loving boy Marc (Israel Broussard) is starting a new school and finds a friend in celeb-obsessed Rebecca (Katie Chang). They find out that Paris Hilton is out of town, hosting a party in Las Vegas and manage to find her home address on Google.
Hilton practically invites them to burgle her mega mansion by leaving a key under the mat for them to find, so they walk in and help themselves to her designer clothes. After bragging to their friends about how easy it all was, they return to Paris’s house to ‘go shopping’ bringing Nicki (Emma Watson), Chloe (Claire Julian) and Sam (Taissa Farmiga), with them.
We are then taken through a series of robberies with the gang, where we visit the houses of celebrities Rachel Bilson, Audrina Patridge, Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr, Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan. However, fun as it is to watch pretty young things try on high heels, take drugs and then get arrested, then film it isn’t exactly damming of the youth of today or sympathetic towards them. Although Coppola aims to critique the ring’s rampant consumerism, she neither makes a moral judgment of them nor makes them out to be victims of society.
In the end, this isn’t any more anthropological than MTV’s Jersey Shore. The film’s core audience will probably be impressed by the gang’s stunt instead of repulsed by it – if it’s so easy to steal handbags, why aren’t we all doing it?
Perhaps The Bling Ring should team together with the cast of anti-capitalist thriller The East, where robbing houses meant revenge for corporate wrongdoings or was in the spirit of Robin Hood.