'The Bling Ring' is a perfect, pocket-sized case-study of what happens when more than just the allocated elite feel entitled to their share of the Hollywood dream, and reach out to take it.
Ironies abound in Sofia Coppola's big screen adaptation of an original Vanity Fair article about The Bling Ring, a group of celebrity-obsessed teenagers who hung on every word dished out by their Hollywood heroes - Paris, Lindsay, Orlando et al - admired their clothes and jewellery, and eventually sought to emulate them, by stealing from them.
'The Bling Ring' is a fascinating study of what's happened to celebrity culture
How did they know who to target, where to go and when to attack? Because the internet, that same instrument that had put these celebs up on a distant plinth to be worshipped from afar, afforded this up close and personal information - addresses, stars' whereabouts - at the click of a button. Both the motivation and the means in a mouse. Got to love a paradox.
Similarly, these teenagers were so obsessed with celebrity culture that when the game was up, courtesy of security CCTV that Paris Hilton actually helpfully provided to Coppola's team (hence publicising her privacy, another layer of the onion), all the defendants were moved to do was count their Facebook followers and glory in their new renown.
Coppola has made it clear she holds her protagonists in no judgement, more that she blames the celebrity culture, the terrible diet of magazines and billboards, they are infesting for being too central to their decision-making at a vulnerable age - when the biggest choice is working out who to worship, and devastation is being defriended on Facebook.
Emma Watson, seamlessly steering herself out of Hogwarts into respectable adulthood, stands out as one of the group leaders Nicki, vulnerable and quite bright but armoured with a serious sense of entitlement, too busy working out which of Paris Hilton's bags to steal to stop and consider the merit of her actions.
And if there's one thing that is both a failure and a triumph of this film is the lack of accountability. Coppola said in chat with HuffPostUK of the celebrities' wealth, "they have so much stuff, it's hard to feel sorry for them." Yes, but a victim's wealth doesn't normally figure in deciding the amount of culpability.
When a victim is as rich and stupid as Paris Hilton (she actually left her spare key under the mat), does that mean she deserves what she gets? This film comes to no real conclusion, just leaves you wondering what exactly the parents were doing while all this was going on.
'The Bling Ring' is in UK cinemas from this week. Watch the trailer below...
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