Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 07:26 am est

Sofia Coppola makes interesting choices with ‘The Bling Ring’

Posted on June 13, 2013 | by Marcus Jones

20130613-172101.jpg

“The Bling Ring” very well may be the new classic in the genre of teenagers behaving badly. Reminiscent of the iconic teen film “Mean Girls” and the recent spectacle “Spring Breakers,” “The Bling Ring” falls right in between those two on the spectrum of funny to insane.

The new film tells the story of Marc (Israel Broussard), a new student at Indian Hills High School, a school for students who were kicked out of their regular schools. After befriending two girls, Rebecca (Katie Chang) and Chloe (Claire Jullen), he soon joins them on their favorite pastime — robbing people. What starts as car-jacking turns into home invasion when one of their schoolmates is out of town.

From the rush of their first successful house robbery, the teenagers then set their sights on celebrities — beginning with Paris Hilton, under the assumption that a person who would allow a sex tape to leak would be dumb enough to leave the key under the doormat.

Sofia Coppola is most successful in setting a solid tone. Her film makes it fun to live vicariously through the teens while they raid all the celebrities’ homes. The film captures the extreme voyeurism our society has with celebrities — the house raids are reminiscent of watching an episode of “MTV Cribs” — and makes you wish you were there.

However, although the film is incredibly entertaining, especially for those who flip through a tabloid from time to time, Coppola makes some questionable directorial choices. The main issue with ”The Bling Ring” its lackadaisical approach to historical accuracy.

The film remains faithful to the timeline of the actual events, but the archival footage Coppola uses is just a mashup of news stories and videos of the celebrities without any particular chronological order. It’s also strange that Coppola chose music that was released after the actual debacle — this wouldn’t be so much of a problem if not for the fact that the characters are seen singing along.

Coppola also makes some frustrating decisions with character and casting. She changes all the students’ names in the movie, likely to protect their identities, but those who know the true story of the Bling Ring will notice a character equivalent of central player Diana Tamayo to be missing. Why this character is missing is unknown, when in real life she was one of the heads of the group, and also an alleged illegal immigrant that could have made for a very captivating conflict for a character.

And, as much as everyone loves Emma Watson — who later joins the group as Nicki — and as much as she sells her character, she is forced to fry her voice with almost every word she says, as if she is playing a caricature of a Valley girl.

Interestingly enough, Watson and Taissa Farmiga — whose characters are based on real-life sisters Alexis Neiers and Tess Taylor, respectively — actually look much more like the other girl, and perhaps should have been casted as such.

Much like “Mean Girls” and the other great teen films of our era, “The Bling Ring” has the “replay” factor, both because and despite of Emma Watson. Those who want more insight on the story should read the article that the film is based on.

The directions that Sofia Coppola take her film are at times confusing and at other times great, but seeing this film may just inspire you to start robbing homes yourself.

Marcus Jones is a staff writer. Email him at film@nyunews.com.

Comments

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next