‘Bling Ring’ lives up to its promise

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CHANG. Spot-on portrayal.

Sofia Coppola began her film career as a child actress in her father, Francis Ford Coppola’s movies. Most unexpected of all was her dad’s decision, when she had grown into a lovely teenager, to cast her in a key role in one of his “Godfather” films, to fill in the blanks for a name actress who had peremptorily dropped out of the production.

Alas, Sofia was truly lovely, but turned out to be a vapid performer, so that was the end of her acting career!

Happily, some years later, Sofia resurfaced in the movie biz—as a young and competent writer-director! In fact, her early films were so good that she quickly made a name for herself as a gifted filmmaker in her own right.

We especially liked her work as a screenwriter-director in “Lost in Translation.” We loved her modern sensibility and her ability to create a radically different “universe” with every new film she made—the mark of a director “speaking” in his or her own, unique “voice.”

So, when her latest movie, “The Bling Ring,” opened in town, we hastened to see it, over three other productions that started their run on the same week.

The “trendy” docu-drama turned out to be right up Coppola’s alley, because it was as fresh as today’s crime and show biz headlines: It was about a gang of young people whose uniquely larcenous “trip” was to break into the homes of celebrities—and “stylishly” steal from them!

The film’s unique “ripped from the headlines” material lived up to its promise as a stark and telling reflection of the shockingly jaded and amoral world that some of today’s bright and brittle youth inhabit.

High on drugs and other verboten substances and the narcotic of reflected celebrity, the gangmembers in the film’s cautionary modern “amorality tale” thought that they were special creatures who could get away with “murder” forever—until the long arms of the law belatedly caught up with them.

Engagements

Why did they go scot-free for so long? They timed their “shopping sprees” in young stars’ homes to coincide with the luminaries’ out-of-town engagements, as reported in great detail on online show biz sites!

Thus forewarned and forearmed, they were able to “shop” at Paris Hilton’s mansion eight times—and got to be so familiar with the place that they even conducted “tours” of it for some of their dazed and dazzled friends!

The points that filmmaker Coppola succinctly makes in her movie have to do with the currently exaggerated appeal of the world of celebrity to the very young; the absolute lack of guilt and scruples of the gang members; today’s excessively materialistic culture, the awesome wealth of young entertainment stars that enable them to acquire so much expensive stuff that they don’t even know that they’ve been robbed—etc.!

Coppola is also able to elicit spot-on jaded portrayals from her young actors, especially from the gang-leader played by Katie Chang, and her addled acolyte, portrayed by Israel Broussard.

Emma Watson of “Harry Potter” fame is also in the flick as one of the members of the “bling ring,” but she isn’t sufficiently versatile as a performer, and is thus roundly upstaged by her lesser-known costars. —In the acting biz, you really are only as good as your latest performance!

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December 18, 2014

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