Taissa Farmiga, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Katie Chung, and Claire Julien in Sofia Coppola’s “The Bling Ring”
Easily one of the best movies you’ll see this summer is The Bling Ring. Yep the movie about twenty-something’s that break into Celebrities’ homes while they’re away. It’s highly entertaining and just good old fashion fun. The film, which is based on true events and Nancy Jo Sales Article “They Wore Louboutins”, focuses its attention on the four major contributors of Sales article. Rachel Lee Jungeon, Nick Prugo, Alexis Neiers, and Courtney Ames. If you think you’re going to see a bunch of bored kids just pick up and rob the house of Paris Hilton you’re dead wrong. These kids party and are known for having substance abuse problems, but decide that they can make a living stealing from high profile celebs. A venture that proves to be far easier than it actually sounds considering that Paris Hilton had admitted to that fact that she kept a set of keys under her front door matt in the gated community of her California home. Not to mention Brian Austin Green also admitted to leaving a doggy door open, which he knew was a vulnerable point of entrance for anyone to easily sneak into his place. This group of troublesome twenty-year olds would have gotten away with the crimes and have never been charged with burglary in the first place if they knew how to look for cameras and security equipment.
Marc (Israel Broussard) is the lonely kid in his class at Indian Hills in Calabasas and appears to live a normal life, cut to the next morning and he has grabbed the attention of Rebecca (Katie Chung). The two smoke Mary Jane together and thus build a great friendship that would only expand unto others like Nikki (Emma Watson), Chloe (Claire Julien), and Sam (Taissa Farmiga).
Nikki and Sam are friends with Rebecca, but these girls are abusive partiers, which further adds to the drug abuse seen in the film.Add an overbearing mom Laurie (Leslie Mann) whom gives them their daily dose of Adderall upon waking up the following day after a hard night of partying. Sam however, isn’t Nikki’s real sister either she’s adapted, but they treat her like family. Both girls are homeschooled and are given their daily lesson on how to be a better person to the likes of Angelian Jolie, whom donates to charity often and adapts several children herself. Laurie believes this method is a good guide for the girls as well as a good lifestyle to live.
It was one fateful day that would forever changed the way Marc and Rebecca do things. During one of their cruises throughout many of California’s uppity suburbs Marc tells Rebecca how his friend Evan is out of town and the conversation quickly becomes about where Evan lives as well how long he is out of town for never questioning how morally wrong it is to steal from someone celebrity or otherwise. While in Evans place the couple finds eight grand and split it evenly. Not to mention they then take the family sports car out for an extended drive. To then top it off the couple begins searching through other high-end cars parked not to far from their humble abodes. Looking for money and credit cards to feed their desire to look good. Which the real life Bling Ring member Nick Prugo said was a nightly “ritual” for the pair. So it’s easily no surprise how this became about stealing from celebs, Rebecca was certainly not new at this like Marc was. She was experienced and the level of obsession she has with the celebs she would rip off is showcased exactly as it was reported.
Granted, this is just in the first twenty minutes of this ninety-minute feature and from here it quickly escalates from robbing Paris Hilton on an almost daily basis to robbing other big names celebs like Brian Austin Green, although their real target was Transformers star Megan Fox whom Green is currently dating and Audrina Patridge. The film spends a fair amount of time in both places; Waving Green’s .308 SigSauer around and finding Orlando Bloom’s Rolex collection and money stash. Which would later be sold to Ricky (Gavin Rossdale) Chloe’s boyfriend way under price.
When the Bling Ring Gang isn’t ripping off celebrities they are either trying to sell what they have stolen on the beach or out clubbing and spending the cash they find on drugs and alcohol. Here is where the Marc’s relationship builds with the other three girls Chloe, Sam, and Nikki. They do their iPhone portraits and post it online for all to see as well with their celeb goodies.
Despite how fun this movie is, these kids were nothing more than common thieves and law did come knocking. Everyone in the film except for Emily (Georgia Rock) Nikki’s little sister and Sam were convicted for burglary. The police could not actually confirm that they were there and aided with the robbery. The real members of the Bling Ring Gang Alexis Neiers had to serve 180 days in jail and had a reality show that lasted for a season. The show also featured Tess Taylor, Gabby Neiers, and their loony mom Andréa Arlington. Nick Prugo who admitted to all of the crimes and took a plea bargain and was serving a two-year prison sentence and was let out early due to good behavior. Rachel Lee Jungeon was sentenced to four years in prison with her plea deal and Johnny “Dangerous” Ajar was able to cut a similar plea bargain despite being wanted for possession and other crimes. Ajar walked away with a three-year prison sentence after having served thirty-seven months prior to a hearing. Courtney Ames got off the easiest with a sixty-day community service order and three years probation.
The Bling Ring is Sofia Coppola’s latest film and easily her best film since Lost in Translation. The style and direction she brought to life in this film instantly is very reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike or even more recently Side Effects. The Bling Ring features many scenes with simple blocking and high-end cinematography courtesy of the late Harris Savides and Christopher Blauvelt. Granted these shots are simple, but there is a lot happening within them.
The acting from the entire cast is superb and no one feels out of place. Emma Watson and Newcomer Claire Julien are fantastic in their party to-your-drop roles. Very Farmiga’s daughter Taissa whom not only looks just like her, but has gotten the acting jean as well as she follows in the footsteps of her sister Nikki. I highly recommend seeing the Bling Ring its shows that you can be funny, but to over-the-top like Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain; It’s a well done docu-drama instead of docu-comedy. Because why would anyone take a true story and make a comedy out of it in the first place?