Sofia Coppola has spent much of her career enticing viewers to shed a tear for the poor little rich boys and girls of the world. With her fifth feature, she turns her attention to the sidelines, where scores of disaffected, raised-on-reality-TV teenagers yearn to catch the spotlight’s leering gaze and live the lives of leisure enjoyed by their entitled idols. The Bling Ring
takes its name from the real-life cabal of Southern California acquaintances who made a habit of breaking, entering and burgling their favorite celebrities’ Beverly Hills homes. Coppola has crafted well-drawn analogs for the actual perpetrators: Cold-blooded Rebecca (Katie Chang) hatches the schemes while her insecure sidekick Marc (Israel Broussard) handles the particulars. Frequently along for the ride are Nicki (Emma Watson) and Sam (Taissa Farmiga)—home-schooled friends who subsist on Adderall and treat The Secret as scripture—and Chloe (Claire Julien), who wears the bruises from her latest DUI accident like a badge of honor. Coppola skillfully conveys a key cultural shift: the desire for fame supplanted by an appetite for infamy, and The Bling Ring
is every bit as visually exquisite as her previous work. However, as if taking cues from its players’ well-honed apathy, the film is dramatically flat. Never displaying the interplay between the vibrant and the melancholic that made Lost in Translation
so engaging, The Bling Ring
invites you to admire it from a distance rather than immerse yourself in it. Ultimately, it’s a work very much of its time. Which is to say: readily disposable.