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article imageReview: ‘The Bling Ring’ turns obsession into possession Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jun 21, 2013 in Entertainment
‘The Bling Ring’ is about a group of teenagers obsessed with fashion and fame who break into the homes of celebrities in Los Angeles and steal millions of dollars in their personal belongings.
If you ever wondered what life would be like for Cher Horowitz and her friends if Clueless was produced now, The Bling Ring answers the question. Just following the celebrity gossip on TMZ and fashion trends in magazines is no longer enough for these Valley girls (and boy). They want to be close enough to touch, steal and wear their favourite celebrity's personal style.
Starting a new school senior year is tough, so Marc (Israel Broussard) was happy when Rebecca (Katie Chang) asked him to join her and her friends at the beach after school. They quickly become inseparable, bonding over their keen fashion sense and style goals. One night they decide to cure their boredom with a little breaking-and-entering – at Paris Hilton's house. What begins as a harmless romp in someone else's shoes spirals into a string of high-end robberies by a ring of over-privileged teenagers, who happen to be smart enough to take advantage of celebrities' naiveté.
Inspired by a 2010 Vanity Fair article, the film is based on the real-life antics of a group of Valley teens who stole more than $3 million in jewellery and designer goods in less than a year. They give little consideration to the victims of their crimes (they have so much stuff anyway), concerned only about how fabulous they look in their new Louboutin heels or Dolce & Gabbana dress. They blame their targets for making it so easy, tracking their whereabouts online and finding unguarded entry ways into their homes. They treat it like shopping without a budget. And they flaunt it like there's no chance of being caught.
Writer/director Sofia Coppola has a knack for portraying women on film, though the personalities she’s brought to the screen have varied greatly. In this picture she perfectly captures how self-involved these teens are, and how their environment and fixations influenced their actions. The scenes are vibrant and flashy, reflecting their glossy, fake lifestyles and brand obsessions.
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For the star gawkers and fashionistas, this movie is practically a textbook. The name dropping is incessant and the envy flickers in their eyes like neon green lights. But unless you understand the full value of their conquests (economic and social), you can't really rejoice in their satisfaction. In that case they just resemble spoiled brats with no sense of consequences – to the point that their bragging is what eventually lands them in jail.
The only other thing to retain your attention is the absurdity of the characters and their behaviour. Marc is basically a doormat, bending to all of Rebecca's whims from partying to stealing to drugs. But the true entertainment is provided by Emma Watson's Nicki. She is so over the top, you can't help but roll your eyes and shake your head. Her post-arrest interview with the Vanity Fair writer is ridiculous as she talks about karma and possibly running the country one day. Even if designer labels and club hopping aren't your cup of tea, it's almost worth watching for her performance alone.
Director: Sofia Coppola
Starring: Katie Chang, Israel Broussard and Emma Watson
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