Film Review: The Bling Ring

It’s been a very long time since I have detested a film quite as much as The Bling Ring. Honestly, I truly struggle to think of any redeeming feature in it, everything about it: the plot, the characters, the tone, is just wrong. Granted, I’m probably not its target audience, after all I don’t care about Paris Hilton, celebrity parties, or the latest fashion trends, and so don’t understand the draw towards that lifestyle, but the glitz, glamour and risqué frivolity implied by the trailer is nothing but a smoke screen to a film that is pathetic, shallow and simply wrong.

My first problem with The Bling Ring is the tone it takes to the plot. I felt it almost wants to idolise crime. It is a film which centres around breaking into people’s homes and stealing their stuff. It’s nothing more than 90 minutes of adolescent burglary. That’s bad enough, but it plays this out while almost trying to justify it as a bit of fun. It talks to you as if this is somehow cool, or OK. And it’s not. It’s criminal. If you have an ounce of decency in your body it is impossible to connect to this film in any way because whatever angle you look at it, however you view it’s simple story and characters, the bottom line is this: they are breaking the law; and that is something I don’t want to join them in. I don’t want to take part. In fact, I want them to get arrested.

Katie Chang & Israel Broussard - The Bling Ring

And talking of “them”, the characters in this film are even more unlikeable than the plot. The film centres around Katie Chang as Rebecca but is essentially lead by Israel Broussard as Nick. And I’m sorry, but even in a reality TV, celebrity obsessed broken neighboured, things just wouldn’t play out in the way they do on screen. Chang just comes across as a self centred, manipulative celebrity obsessed psychopath and while Broussard may initially seem to have more about him, he is nothing more than limp and weak and mindless when pushed. And, that may actually sound like the perfect construct for the wolf to lead the lamb to slaughter, but it’s not, because The Bling Ring twists them together in a such an unbelievable and manufactured way that it feels contrived. I just sat there desperately wanting to shout “Really…?” as the shallowness of the plot was smoothed even thinner to fit the stereotyped story. Suddenly, and without warning, Broussards character is gay, and into women’s fashion, and into the celebrity lifestyles. It all just became a bit too easy and a bit too necessity. He feels a designer character for a designed world.

Emma Watson - The Bling Ring

Even worse that the faux leads is the inclusion of Emma Watson as Nicki. Watson looks in her eyes to be taking this role one step beyond serious and yet produces a character that feels even more fake and false than anything else in the film. Everything around her just feels like she’s been cast purely to act as the big name, to draw people in, but nobody actually told her that. She thinks it’s a proper role, and it all just ends up feeling forced and embarrassing. Even worse than her character is her accent. She’s meant to be American but she seems to have dropped her vocal cords off in the middle of the Atlantic. The end result being so grating that I hated every world she spoke, unable to accept her character because I couldn’t connect her to anywhere, she just felt out of place, and therefore, unreal. She just looks, feels and sounds like an act.

I think my biggest problem with The Bling Ring though is the fact that it’s actually based in truth, and as you watch it you can clearly see parts that feel like they are taken from reality and parts that are obviously complete cinematic fiction. But it’s this “born from honest” narrative that drove me away deepest and broke any seriousness this film harbours. I don’t know anything about “breaking and entering” but I would have thought you would have an pang of nervousness about you. There would be anxious panic in the back of your throat about being caught, or at least about potential security measures. But apparently not. Burglar alarms and CCTV never concern out teenage criminals, after all, this is LA and Paris Hilton leaves her key under the mat because her house is under helicopter surveillance! It’s just too far removed from my reality to be understandable, acceptable of stand any chance of feeling natural.

Emma Watson (Gun) - The Bling Ring

And this unease to the portrayed way of life is raised again when our adolescent masterminds simply take their ill gotten treasures, an apparent $3,000,000 worth, and simply either laud it openly in public (including a stolen handgun) or hide it under their beds! Really? And worse still, they start touting stolen goods (because of course, if your into the celebrity lifestyle in LA you just happen to know people, who know people, who can dispose of these things no questions ask). And did I forget to mention these acquaintances, these no questions asked purveyors of hot property, just happen to own a night club. It’s just too bloody stereotyped for its own good.

I truly hate The Bling Ring. It’s a nasty and pretentious piece of tabloid gossip. Honestly, if pushed, the only positive thing I can think of about it is the fact that it’s only 90 minutes long and therefore, doesn’t drag. But as a film, it never gets under your skin, it’s pack no emotional punch and I just withdrew further and further from it until I was actually ended up siding against the characters, story and tone. I desperately waited for them to get caught. It’s the type of film that leaves you questioning how anybody can think it’s even remotely entertaining. I will never watch it again, and in fact, I wish I never had. I wish I’d read a book instead.

3 out of 10 stars (3 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

Comments are closed.