Trust Sofia Coppola for masterminding enchanting tales about rich, upper-middle-class white teenagers transfixed with bourgeois ennui and first-world dilemmas. Her cinematic ouevre is primarily about misunderstood youth, all of whom suffer the boredom of having far too much money and privilege and time on their hands – a personal ‘auteur’ streak that peaked in her previous work Somewhere, an achingly ponderous bespoke portrait of a celebrity burnout. With The Bling Ring, the filmmaker’s return to the Palais des Festival for the opening of the Un Certain Regard sidebar was met with a generous applause, and appropriately so. This is Coppola getting her groove back, calibrating a sassy, deliciously deadpan and often ironic crime-caper featuring five fame-starved, delusional Californian youths, sarcastically commentating on fame, celebrity culture and over-privileged, white and astronomically ingenious Earthlings such as Paris Hilton.
Which is made all the more discerning when Miss Hilton gives The Bling Ring full-blown, bona-fide support (she turns up in the Cannes premiere), a film based on real-life robberies of her la grande maison in Los Angeles, along with Lindsay Lohan, Rachel Bilson, Megan Fox and Orlando Bloom among other victims, when at a closer look, the film criticises her lifestyle and everything else she represents. I suppose Hilton cannot even critically analyse the strategic hiding-spot of her house keys, let alone the reflexivity of Coppola’s film. The crimes committed by these vapid imbeciles are suddenly rendered justifiable in a cultural sense, given that the world around feeds them with farcical high-end brand glorification (putting on a pair of Loubotins is comparable to attaining the Holy Grail) and material association with celebrities is considered the ultimate achievement. Coppola supplies her picture with this knowing, and despite repeating this message as the gang hops from one burglary to another, she shows how one fancy shenanigan can turn around its head and become a sort of mythic adoration of lawlessness, and that it’s all okay to rob some bling y’all because Lohan’s doing it so why can’t they?[separator type=”space”] DIRECTOR: Sofia Coppola | CAST: Emma Watson, Leslie Mann, Katie Chang, Israel Boussard | SCREENPLAY:Sofia Coppola | PRODUCER: American Zoetrope | RUNNING-TIME: 90 mins | GENRE: Crime/Comedy | COUNTRY: USA