Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Film Review: The Bling Ring

About the film
The Bling Ring is a black comedy/ crime film that was released in 2013. The film is based on actual events where a group on teenagers broke into and robbed celebrity’s homes. The Bling Ring is rated 15 and has a run time of 90 minutes.

Teenager Marc Hall is just starting out at a new school in California and quickly becomes friends with Rebecca Ahn. After going to a party together, they head out and begin checking cars for unlocked doors and taking whatever valuable goods they can get. When Marc mentions that he has a wealthy friend who is away, Rebecca instantly wants to go over there and see what they can get from the house. While Marc is uncomfortable about what they’re doing, he goes anyway because he doesn’t want to lose his new friend.

Rebecca’s other friends, Nicki, Chloe and Sam all hang out in a club where celebrities often visit. After briefly mentioning that Paris Hilton is out of town, they decide to try to get into her house to see what they can steal. This first visit to a celebrity’s home starts a whole range of robberies. The group use the internet to figure out a where a celebrity is and whether or not they’re home. The film follows the group as their addiction to stealing gets stronger and how their downfall happened.

*Names in brackets are the real people they represent*

Katie Chang as Rebecca Ahn (Rachel Lee)
Israel Broussard as Marc Hall (Nick Prugo)
Emma Watson as Nicki Moore (Alexis Neiers)
Claire Julien as Chloe Tainer (Courtney Ames)
Taissa Farmiga as Sam Moore (Tess Taylor)
Leslie Mann as Laurie Moore (Andrea Arlington-Dunn)
Georgia Rock as Emily Moore (Gabby Neiers)
Carlos Miranda as Rob (Roy Lopez, Jr.)
Gavin Rossdale as Ricky (Johnny "Dangerous" Ajar)

What I thought
The real life group that this film was based on are called Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch, The Burglar Bunch, or the Hollywood Hills Burglars. The events took place from 2008 through to 2009 but it isn’t something I ever remember hearing about on the news. I’m sure it was a bigger story in the U.S.

It doesn’t take long for the film to get going, introducing main characters Marc and Rebecca quickly. Marc has only just started his new school and soon makes friends with Rebecca who introduces him to a different kind of life. She shows him how to check for open car doors, what to take and although he doesn’t feel quite right about what they’re doing, he doesn’t say anything. The group is then make bigger with friends Nicki, Chloe and Sam who all want a part of going to celebrity’s homes and seeing what they can take.

The film shows exactly how shallow and self-centred this group of teenagers are. The only things they ever care about is possessions and money and often covet what other people have. As the characters were shown in this way, it made it extremely hard to like any of them, even a little bit although I’m not sure you were supposed to anyway. None of the characters come from particularly bad places and none of them are especially broke. The film showed the characters as teenagers with little better to do.

While the plot was certainly interesting and different, it was quite bland and repetitive. There are so many scenes of the group drinking or getting high in a club and going to one particular home too many times. There was very little substance behind the basic plot and I wanted more. I wanted to know that there were better reasons behind robbing certain people but there wasn’t. There also wasn’t any really exciting scenes where the group may have gotten caught or come close to it. I think something like this, even if it was fictional, would have made the film a lot better.

Emma Watson, best known for playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter films, honestly shows what a fantastic actress she is in this film. After being a part of such a successful franchise, Watson has been carefully selecting the films she is a part of instead of taking any job just to keep going. In this film Watson plays Nicki Moore, one of the girls in ‘The Bling Ring’. Watson takes on the shallow persona extremely well and fully immerses herself into the character. It has been said that she watched a lot of reality television to get into character. Whatever she did, it worked.

As for the rest of the cast, they’re nothing special really. As mentioned before, the characters are shallow and annoying and yes, the actors do show this well. But, there is nothing stand-out about any of their performances. There is no one I remember more than Emma Watson and none of the actors really drew my attention to them. Again though, I think this was more down to characterisation rather than the actors themselves. It looks as though they did the best with what they had but there wasn’t much more they could do other than that.

While it may sound like I disliked this film, I actually didn’t. Overall, I just wanted more and I think the film could have been much better in some places. 

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