The Bling Ring
|The Bling Ring|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Sofia Coppola|
|Produced by||Roman Coppola
|Written by||Sofia Coppola|
|Based on||"The Suspects Wore Louboutins"
by Nancy Jo Sales
|Music by||Brian Reitzell
|Editing by||Sarah Flack|
|Running time||90 minutes|
The Bling Ring is a 2013 American satirical black comedy crime film based on actual events. Directed, written and produced by Sofia Coppola, it features an ensemble cast including newcomers Israel Broussard, Katie Chang and Claire Julien, as well as Taissa Farmiga and Emma Watson.
Filming began in March 2012. It opened the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and released in the United States on June 14 (limited) and on June 21 (nationwide). It received positive reviews, with critics praising Watson's, Broussard's and Chang's performances.
Quiet teenager Marc Hall (Israel Broussard) arrives as a new student at Indian Hills High School in Calabasas, California. He is befriended by fame-obsessed Rebecca Ahn (Katie Chang). While at a party at Rebecca's house, the pair check unlocked vehicles on the street, taking valuables such as cash and credit cards.
When Marc mentions that one of his wealthy acquaintances is out of town, Rebecca suggests they go to his house. Marc is very uncomfortable trespassing. Rebecca steals a handbag, mentioning that her idol, Lindsay Lohan, has the same one. She also steals cash and the keys to a Porsche, which the pair use to flee the scene. With the cash, the two go on a shopping spree, affording themselves the luxury lifestyle they admire in magazines.
Marc visits a nightclub with Rebecca and her friends Nicki (Emma Watson), her adopted sister Sam (Taissa Farmiga), and Chloe (Claire Julien), where they rub shoulders with celebrities such as Kirsten Dunst and Paris Hilton. While researching Hilton on the Internet, Marc and Rebecca realize that she will be out of town. The pair go to her house, and finding the key under the doormat, they go through Hilton's belongings, taking some jewelry. Rebecca then flaunts a stolen bracelet to Nicki, Sam, and Chloe at a party.
At Nicki's request, Rebecca and Marc take her, Sam and Chloe back to Hilton's house. The group marvels at the excess of Hilton's lifestyle, and steals shoes, bags, dresses, cash, and jewelry. Marc and Rebecca return to rob Hilton's house on a third occasion. The pair also decides to rob the home of Audrina Patridge, once again using the Internet to determine when she will not be home. The entire group uses the same method to burgle the home of Megan Fox, with Nicki's younger sister Emily (Georgia Rock) squeezing through a pet door to gain access to the home.
The group enters the home of Orlando Bloom and his girlfriend, Miranda Kerr. The girls proceed to steal similar items, while Marc finds a case filled with seven of Bloom's Rolex watches along with a roll of cash. Chloe then helps Marc sell the watches to her boyfriend, Ricky. The group returns once again to Hilton’s house, with Sam's boyfriend Rob, who also steals from the home.
A news report releases captured CCTV footage from the robbery at Audrina Patridge's home. This concerns Marc, but Rebecca is undeterred and instigates a burglary at the home of Rachel Bilson. Word spreads amongst the group's social circles, and the girls proudly boast of their accomplishments at parties, also posting photographs of the stolen items on social media sites. The group ultimately robs the home of Lohan, Rebecca's celebrity idol. Shortly after, Rebecca moves to Las Vegas with her father due to troubles at home, leaving some of her stolen items with Marc, who inadvertently helps Rebecca transfer stolen items across state lines.
News reports of the Hollywood Hills burglaries intensify, with the media labeling the group "The Bling Ring". CCTV from several robberies in addition to the evidence on social media allows authorities to identify the group. Police arrest Marc, Nicki, Chloe, Rebecca, Rob, and Ricky, however Sam is not identified in the footage and avoids arrest. Marc cooperates with the police, informing them on the details of the burglaries, much to the chagrin of Rebecca, who has been identified as the ringleader. A Vanity Fair journalist interviews Marc, who is remorseful, and Nicki, who vehemently suggests the others were at fault, and that she was simply involved with the wrong people. The group is ultimately prosecuted, receiving varying amounts of jail time and is ordered to collectively pay millions of dollars in restitution for the stolen items.
The group serves its jail time, and Marc and Rebecca each go into seclusion from the press. A few months later, Nicki is on a talk show talking about her time in jail, and reveals that her cell was next to Lohan's. After digressing, she turns to the audience (and the viewers) as she finds a way to enhance her newfound notoriety, telling them to visit her now-popular website detailing her life after The Bling Ring.
- Katie Chang as Rebecca Ahn (based on Rachel Lee)
- Israel Broussard as Marc Hall (based on Nick Prugo)
- Emma Watson as Nicki Moore (based on Alexis Neiers)
- Claire Julien as Chloe Tainer (based on Courtney Ames)
- Taissa Farmiga as Sam Moore (based on Tess Taylor)
- Leslie Mann as Laurie Moore (based on Andrea Arlington-Dunn)
- Georgia Rock as Emily Moore (based on Gabby Neiers)
- Carlos Miranda as Rob (based on Roy Lopez, Jr.)
- Gavin Rossdale as Ricky (based on Johnny "Dangerous" Ajar)
- Stacy Edwards as Mrs. Hall
- G. Mac Brown as Henry
- Marc Coppola as Mr. Hall
- Janet Song as Mrs. Ahn
- Annie Fitzgerald as Kate (based on Nancy Jo Sales)
- Doug DeBeech as Adam
- Erin Daniels as Shannon
- Patricia Lentz as Judge Henley
- Maika Monroe as Beach Girl
- Cameo appearances
- Paris Hilton as herself
- Kirsten Dunst as herself
- Lindsay Lohan as herself (archive footage)
- Audrina Patridge as herself (archive footage)
- Rachel Bilson as herself (archive footage)
- Miranda Kerr as herself (archive footage)
- Orlando Bloom as himself (archive footage)
- Brett Goodkin as himself (police officer)
Production primarily took place in and around Los Angeles, California in March and April 2012; notably in West Hollywood, Lynwood, and Venice. Paris Hilton, who was a victim during the actual Bling Ring robberies, has been confirmed to make a cameo appearance in the film, while Kirsten Dunst and Gavin Rossdale were also spotted on set of the film. Some scenes were shot in the celebrity victim's homes and at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, California.
The film's soundtrack was supervised by frequent Coppola collaborator Brian Reitzell. Entitled The Bling Ring: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, the soundtrack album was released on June 11, 2013 by Def Jam Recordings. It contains a mix of music ranging between such genres as hip-hop/rap, krautrock, and electronic. The musical score for the film was written by Reitzell in collaboration with Daniel Lopatin, known mostly under the recording name of Oneohtrix Point Never. In addition, Reitzell worked closely with Coppola to find contemporary music that would fit within the film's setting. After being contacted for song contributions, rapper Kanye West recommended Reitzell use Frank Ocean's then-unreleased "Super Rich Kids". Coppola's husband's band Phoenix also contributed the title track from their most recent album Bankrupt!.
|1.||"Crown on the Ground"||Alexis Krauss, Derek Miller||Sleigh Bells||3:49|
|2.||"9 Piece"||Lil Wayne||Rick Ross (featuring Lil Wayne)||5:17|
|3.||"Sunshine"||Rye Rye, Maya Arulpragasam||Rye Rye (featuring M.I.A.)||3:22|
|4.||"212"||Azealia Banks, Jef Martens||Azealia Banks (featuring Lazy Jay)||3:26|
|5.||"Arabic Princess"||Kwadwo Boateng and Reem Oweti||Reema Major||2:55|
|6.||"Ouroboros"||Daniel Lopatin||Oneohtrix Point Never||2:02|
|7.||"Money Machine"||Tauheed Epps, Christopher Gholson||2 Chainz||4:42|
|8.||"Bad Girls"||Mathangi Arulpragasam, Nate Hills, Marcella Araica||M.I.A.||3:48|
|9.||"All of the Lights"||Kanye West, Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, 'Malik Yusef El Shabbaz Jones', Scott Mescudi, Warren Trotter||Kanye West||4:59|
|10.||"Drop It Low"||Christopher Maurice Brown, Esther Dean, Jamal F. Jones||Ester Dean (featuring Chris Brown)||3:14|
|11.||"Gucci Bag"||Gemar Akoto, Kwadwo Boateng, Reem Oweti||Reema Major||3:54|
|12.||"Halleluwah"||Michael Karoli, Jaki Liebezeit, Irmin Schmidt, Holger Schweizer, Kenji Suzuki||Can||5:36|
|13.||"Power"||Kanye West, Larry Griffin Jr., Mike Dean, Jeff Bhasker, Andwele Gardner, Ken Lewis, Francois Bernheim, Jean-Pierre Lang, Boris Bergman, Robert Fripp, Michael Giles, Greg Lake, Ian McDonald||Kanye West||4:52|
|14.||"Freeze"||Klaus Schulze||Klaus Schulze||6:39|
|16.||"The Bling Ring Suite"||Brian Reitzell, Daniel Lopatin||Brian Reitzell and Daniel Lopatin||6:52|
|17.||"Bankrupt!"||Thomas Mars, Deck d'Arcy, Laurent Brancowitz, Christian Mazzalai||Phoenix||6:56|
|18.||"Super Rich Kids"||Frank Ocean, Malay, Earl Sweatshirt, Kirk Robinson, Nathaniel Robinson Jr., Ray Hammond, Mark Morales, Mark Rooney||Frank Ocean (featuring Earl Sweatshirt)||5:04|
The film opened the Un Certain Regard section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. The film is Coppola's third film in a row that deals heavily with the famous, following Marie Antoinette and Somewhere, a drama about a renowned actor and his 11-year-old daughter. About the premiere in Cannes, she said: "It seems like the perfect setting for The Bling Ring when you see people walking around in their heels. It's a glamorous place, so it feels appropriate." The film closed the 39th Seattle International Film Festival on June 9, 2013.
The film has already drawn comparisons to the recent, day-glo cinematography of Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers which is also under the new distributor, A24 Films. Though Coppola hasn't seen Spring Breakers, she says, "I can understand that there's this sort of trash culture aspect that's in the air."
The Bling Ring has received generally mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 60% "Fresh" based on reviews from 179 critics, with a weighted average of 6.3/10 and the site's consensus stating "While it's certainly timely and beautifully filmed, The Bling Ring suffers from director Sofia Coppola's failure to delve beneath the surface of its shallow protagonists' real-life crimes". This made it Coppola's second-lowest rated movie after Marie Antoinette. Metacritic has assigned the film an average score of 66 out of 100 based on 40 reviews from mainstream critics, indicating "generally positive reviews".
Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly had a positive opinion: "Watching The Bling Ring, the audience is invited to understand the impulses of these child-woman thieves, even as Coppola stands firmly apart from their craziness and sees them for who they are." Others like Robbie Collin from The Daily Telegraph said: "Everything comes together for the good here: visuals, performances, raucous soundtrack, Coppola's teasing flirtation with, yet ultimate lack of commitment to, some kind of concrete morality." Todd McCarthy from The Hollywood Reporter said: "Coppola's attitude toward her subject seems equivocal, uncertain; there is perhaps a smidgen of social commentary, but she seems far too at home in the world she depicts to offer a rewarding critique of it."
Emma Watson's performance as Nicki received critical acclaim. Richard Roeper called her "comedic gold", while Gleiberman wrote that Watson "does a remarkable job of demonstrating that glassy-eyed insensitivity doesn't have to be stupid. Wearing a brown shag that transforms her into a look-alike of the young Marilyn Chambers, Watson proves that her willingness to take chances is only growing, and that she's an actress serious enough to turn a line like 'Your butt looks awesome!' into something that reveals character." Cath Clarke of Time Out commented positively on Watson defying her stunt casting, saying "the real story here isn't the good-girl-goes-bad stunt casting; it's that Watson can act. Against the odds, the Harry Potter star gives a sharp, knowing smart performance as Nicki, one of a gang of spoiled rich Californian brats robbing the houses of celebs who, like, totally deserve it." Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote that "Emma Watson is sensational as Nicki, an underage club girl and actress wanna-be, who lives in a universe of Valley Girl narcissism eons away from Hogwarts. 'I wanna rob,' deadpans Nicki, a character based on Alexis Neiers, who negotiated her own E! reality show." Even critics who gave the film overall negative reviews singled Watson out for praise, with Peter Howell from Toronto Star saying "The undistinguished young cast of The Bling Ring has just one standout, and that's Emma Watson, who plays one of the most vacuous of the juvenile thieves. We know her best as the brainy Hermione from the Harry Potter movies, and she can obviously do brainless equally well." Joe Neumaier of New York Daily News wrote that "Watson, though, does a great imitation of hollow-eyed gaze; her character is the one who tries to parlay notoriety into success (everyone else can, she figures). The one-time Harry Potter star captures the slack-jawed fan only too well." Conversely, Vogue writer John Powers found Watson "miscast".
In its debut weekend in the United States, the film opened in five theaters with $210,001, averaging $42,000 in its debut for distributor A24. "We are thrilled with the results," said A24's Nicolette Aizenberg. "Sofia Coppola's latest and greatest has certainly entered the zeitgeist and we look forward to capitalizing on this great success as we expand nationwide next weekend." It was Coppola's best opening, beating out Lost in Translation's take in of $40,221 from 23 locations in 2003. The movie eventually grossed more than $20 million worldwide.
The Bling Ring was released for digital download on September 6, 2013 and on DVD and Blu-ray on September 17, 2013.
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- Official website
- The Bling Ring at the Internet Movie Database
- The Bling Ring at Box Office Mojo
- The Bling Ring at Metacritic
- The Bling Ring at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Bling Ring at History vs. Hollywood