Over five films, Sofia Coppola has established a pretty solid and recognisable style. Long single takes, sustained moments of not much happening, a gritty realness to her cinematography and sound mixing. The fact that she manages to keep so much of that aesthetic intact, while also telling such a tabloid-tastic, glitzy, main stream story, is a major part of what makes The Bling Ring so great.
Soon, they’re robbing the likes of Paris Hilton, Rachel Bilson, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr, and Megan Fox. They also recruit a few friends into the fun, played by Emma Watson, Alexis Neiers, Claire Julien, Courtney Ames and Taissa Farmiga. Even though the middle section of The Bling Ring is basically just a series of robberies, Coppola shoots each one in a different way to keep it from feeling like a never ending loop. Some robberies are all about the fun and exhilaration, some are about the suspense and fear of being court, one is shot in complete silence. My favourite is nothing more than a single take, shot from a distance, as we see Chan and Broussard ransack a house from top to bottom with ruthless efficiency.
Possibly the greatest achievement by Coppola is the fact that I didn’t completely hate these characters. I should, they’re terrible, terrible people. Everything about them and their actions is so unlikeable. Yet, somehow, as happy as I was to see them go down, I also kind of liked watching them commit their crimes and enjoy the spoils.
I feel like The Bling Ring is the movie Spring Breakers wanted to be. The only difference is, where Coppola looks at her vapid, shallow, fame obsessed characters with a kind of sympathy but also understanding, Harmony Korine just leers at his bikini clad babes like a dirty old man. Spring Breakers tried to justify its exploitative, date rape vibe by claiming to be a comment on the disposability and short sighted selfishness of “the kids”. The Bling Ring takes the time to actually get to know its characters, sympathise with its characters, understand its characters and make some really interesting comments on the disposability and short sighted selfishness of “the kids”.