In this week’s edition of stupid criminals: teenagers who take selfies of themselves committing crimes, at the scene of the crime, during the crime itself. The balls though. The fucking balls.
You may know that Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring is based on a real-life band of teenaged criminals who robbed celebrities blind. Although, considering the type of criminal, let’s qualify the type of celebrity: mostly reality stars like Paris Hilton and Audrina Patridge. And while most of us have trouble feeling sympathy for the Haves having a little less, the kids aren’t exactly Have Nots. Of course, you can always Have More. The crazy thing is, they’re just stealing because they can, because it’s there and they’re entitled, and they don’t give a fuck. They want for nothing…except maybe a good lawyer.
Most criminals are eventually caught. All stupid, blatant, idiotic criminals are caught. But even a brush with the law, strike that, several brushes with the law, doesn’t humble them. The more, More, MORE monster must be fed and soon our band of merry robbers are graduating to the likes of Megan Fox, Rachel Bilson, and Orlando Bloom. The gossip magazine lets them know when someone’s away, and Google offers up their address. The drugs and their hubris make them sloppy. Their egos make them indiscreet. It’s not so much that they wanted to be caught, but that they genuinely thought they were invulnerable. And for a time they were.
This film is beautifully shot. A stand-out for me is a particular robbery of a glass-walled house in the hills. The camera is set far back, and we’re observing the house from some distance. We witness the intruders moving from room to room, turning on lights one at a time. It’s a beautiful, well-plotted scene. And like all Coppola films, this one maybe more than most, the sound track boasts a lot of great songs.
However, not unlike its protagonists, The Bling Ring ends up being kind of superficial. I get that production probably spent a pretty penny recreating Paris Hilton’s boudoir. But scene after scene of theft that looks like Christmas morning should not come at the expense of motivation. Who the fuck are these kids? Who gave them such a sense of entitlement? These perpetrators are so self-absorbed that they gave interviews on how hard it was to do prison time with one of their victims – Lindsay Lohan. How hard it was to stay strong in the face of her tears. It’s hard, as a viewer, not to feel the bile rise. And while I don’t want to glorify these terrifyingly stupid, self-centered criminals, I’m not sure what good this movie is if it doesn’t offer up insight.