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A vibrant portrait of a society thats culture is so lost it's hard to decide who you hate more; wannabes or celebrities.
Sofia Coppola gets it, she gets this social media generation. How do I know? I'm part of it. I know girls like this; the types that don't believe something exists unless it's been posted on their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. In her latest film The Bling Ring, Coppola gives us a vibrant portrait of a society thats culture is so lost it's hard to decide who you hate more; wannabes or celebrities.
I was lucky enough to attend an early screening of The Bling Ring tonight and if there's one word I could use to describe this film it would be: precise. Every edit intricately planned to have a purpose. Upon the first time viewing I don't blame people for missing it. The Bling Ring is intentionally scattered, as if the film itself had a serious case of ADD. The attention span of the edit is about as long as the attention span of our narrators. At times when the narrative shifts focus from one character to another the edit changes with them. If you watch it closely you can almost see the film as a thought process, how each character relives the crimes.
I loved the way this film was shot. It's interesting, the way we view these characters is almost in the background, as if we the audience are in fact the surveillance camera we remain distant from the people on screen not understanding what drives them or even feeling the thrill of robberies. Don't get me wrong there is tension, but only at very interesting times that aren't because of the fear of the robbery. Even scenes where they are almost caught are shown to us very flat trying to detach us from the characters as much as possible.
I've always appreciated Sofia's slow moving dolly shots and they work stunningly in this film. Rarely does a seemingly static shot hold an audiences attention, especially one that takes place outside the house that's being robbed; thanks to the sound design the low ominous tones, as subtle as they are, really drive the scenes.
Emma Watson is fantastic. The way she portrays Nicki's vacant need to fulfill her meaningless desires was striking and the accent and voice inflections made the performance all the more impressive. Besides Emma, most of the other girls are forgettable which I enjoyed; at times you can confuse them with one another because they try so hard to be the same style of person.
Another thing I loved is the amount of "selfies" these girls take. As Coppola herself said it's as if "your experiences don't count unless you have an audience watching them" and you can really feel that in this film. None of the characters really have any "moments" despite their attempts at proving it.
Overall I really enjoyed the film. The entire thing feels like this giant master plan that will need multiple viewing to take in everything Coppola was trying to say. While not as surprising as I thought it was going to be the themes explored near the end of the film were worth the fabulously detailed ride we knew to expect from the trailer.
The Bling Ring is a unique social commentary, which on the surface layer is bound to be compared to Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, both giving us their take on sociopathic young teens. Where the films differ thematically is the interesting part. You'll have to figure that one out on your own.
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