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Movie review: ‘The Bling Ring’

Posted 4:48pm on Thursday, Jun. 20, 2013

R (teen drug and alcohol use, strong language including brief sexual references); 90 min.

Apart from her directorial debut, 1999’s The Virgin Suicides, Sofia Coppola has built a critically acclaimed filmography that coolly dissects what it means to be famous.

The Bling Ring, adapted from a Vanity Fair article about a small band of starstruck burglars, takes Coppola’s fascination with fame’s reality-distortion field to its logical extreme.

Infusing a ripped-from-the-headlines narrative with a clinical detachment and a sharp eye for teenage life in suburban America, Coppola’s film is the ultimate Hollywood selfie, celebrating its glossy fabulousness even as it’s horrified by unintended consequences. The audience’s guide is Marc (newcomer Israel Broussard), who falls into a celebrity-obsessed circle of female friends at his new high school, led by Rebecca (Katie Chang). It’s not long before the group is searching the Internet for addresses to celebrities’ houses, and then breaking in.

Working with cinematographers Harris Savides (who died last year, and to whom the film is dedicated) and Christopher Blauvelt, Coppola mashes together surveillance footage, contemplative long shots (a lingering late-night raid of Audrina Patridge’s home is stunning) and glimmering montages worthy of a music video to immerse viewers in the teens’ heady rush of bad decisions. The soundtrack is equally essential, full of cutting-edge acts like Sleigh Bells, M.I.A., Rick Ross and Kanye West.

— Preston Jones

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