So, it turns out, after all the hype, Sofia Coppola’s true-crime tale of spoiled L.A. adolescents, The Bling Ring, was a bit of a letdown. There we were, hoping it would follow in the footsteps of David Fincher's The Social Network as another pertinent film about today's Facebook generation; but no, Sofia's film barely scrapes the surface. And yet, we still reckon it’s worth checking out, if only for these five simple reasons…
1. IT'S BASED ON A REALLY BIZARRE – AND TRUE – STORY. WHICH IS INTERESTING.
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If you haven't already, you should really read the Vanity Fair article on which Sofia's film is based. Basically, it's about these real-life L.A. rich kids who, in their own words, "just wanted to be part of that lifestyle" – the lifestyle of the rich and famous, that is. The gang were accused of stealing more than $3 million in jewelry and clothing from Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson and others. When you think about it, it's a great shame Sofia didn't fully exploit this brilliant modern tale; a wake-up call to every celebrity who leaves their house keys under their front door mat – rookie error.
2. IT WAS FILMED IN PARIS HILTON'S ACTUAL HOUSE. FOR REAL.
It's like a really screwed up episode of MTV Cribs, as the gang take newcomers on a tour of Hilton's epic mansion in the Hollywood Hills, a house which, by the way, features Paris' own night club room, pillows with her face stitched into them, and her own custom-made heels. Obviously.
3. BECAUSE GIRL GANGS ARE IN FASHION.
With Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, and the imminent release of Foxfire (based on Joyce Carol Oates's 'Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang' – previously made with Angelina Jolie), everyone is talking about girl gangs. The difference with Sofia's gang, though, is that they're completely driven by their obsession with celebrities. "Did you hear Lindsay got another DUI?"
4. BECAUSE THAT SINGER FROM BUSH (GAVIN ROSSDALE) SHOWS HOW TRULY AWFUL AN ACTOR HE IS.
Which doesn't sound like a reason to see the film, until you realise how utterly hilarious the results of his acting attempts are. Let's be honest, the guy can't act to save his life. Incidentally, what ever happened to Rossdale's wannabe Nirvana band, Bush?
5. BECAUSE… DUH, IT WAS DIRECTED BY SOFIA COPPOLA.
In addition to being the daughter of one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Sofia Coppola has made some great films (Lost in Translation, The Virgin Suicides) and some, shall we say, decent films (Marie Antoinette, Somewhere). And although The Bling Ring lacks much of the characterisation that made her early films so compelling, it does further prove her to be a director with a decidedly modernist style. One long take, for example, features a languid zoom in to a house in the hills which two gang members are robbing. It's distanced, audacious storytelling. It's just a shame there weren't enough of these stylistic flourishes to save the film overall. Maybe next time, Sofia.
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Images via Studio Canal, except where credited.