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Omigod! You totally have to see “The Bling Ring.” It’s so, like, seriously awesome. I’m obsessed.
This movie — directed, written and produced by Sofia Coppola — is a drama based on the true story of a group of teenagers who robbed the homes of such celebrities as Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan. Though some reviewers have called it a cautionary tale, I would say it is more a morality play. And young people may well see it as a how-to guide for getting famous and ending up leading the glamorous life they strive to emulate.
As Marc, the male protagonist, explains to a Vanity Fair reporter who interviews the group after they get arrested, “I just think we wanted to be part of the, like, the lifestyle, the lifestyle that everybody kind of wants.” And, “America has its big fascination with the Bonnie and Clyde thing.”
The plot begins as a lark and then takes off, with first just Rebecca and Marc breaking into Hilton’s house. Then the others join in. Eventually, it becomes clear that these kids are real criminals, stalking celebrities on the Internet, figuring out where their victims live and when they will be out of town. Oddly, hardly anyone locks their doors in L.A., so most of the time, they just walk in, steal their clothes — a Birkin bag, Louboutin shoes, Chanel everything — as well as jewelry and money and walk out.
Fueled by marijuana, cocaine, alcohol and Adderall given to them by Nicki’s mom, they wear the clothes and fence them as well, racking up a huge amount of cash. They also post their exploits on Facebook. What were they thinking? They weren’t. It’s all part of the culture.
The culture is rotten. What is so stunning about “The Bling Ring” is the total lack of guilt, shame, remorse or even fear. Marc is the only one who urges them to hurry up when the girls are trying on their icons’ clothes, but just because of nervousness about being caught. The casualness of the antics is shocking.
Nicki’s mom is home-schooling her girls using “The Secret” as their text and a vision board to expand their horizons — and to teach them values. The vision board is covered with photos of their idol, Angelina Jolie, as someone to look up to. Mom asks the girls what they admire most about Jolie. “Her husband” is the answer.
Mom also starts the day with a prayer circle, in which they all hold hands and swear that they will be the best person they can be and will do everything they can to make the planet a better place.
Then off they go to rob another house. You go, girls!
Naturally, they get caught. The Facebook stuff, plus security cameras, finally nail them. Interestingly, they rob Hilton’s house 17 times until they get bored with it (and it took her almost that long to realize anything was missing).
The sheer magnitude of excess, greed and narcissism is on a scale that is overwhelming. Hilton, who allowed parts of the movie to be filmed in her home and has a cameo appearance, has pillows covered with her image all over one room in the house.
“Crime and Punishment” this is not.
At least Raskolnikov, while contemplating murder, has the decency to agonize over the moral implications of what he is about to do. I kept imagining Fyodor Dostoevsky watching this movie and asking, “Where’s the beef?”
Forget values, ethics and morals. They don’t exist in the world these kids occupy. The tragedy is that they represent a much larger part of the population, obsessed with fame, glamour, money and possessions. They don’t even worry about consequences. Ultimately, they are all sentenced to prison. “Whatever.”
And guess what? One of the girls is sharing a cell with . . .
Lohan. How cool is that? She tells us that she hopes we will follow her “journey” on her Web site.
The mom is seemingly thrilled that Vanity Fair is interviewing her daughter about the crime, and she keeps trying to horn in on the interview. But it’s the girl’s big moment. She tells her mother to butt out because she has something important to say. This is it.
“I’m a firm believer in karma,” she says, “and I think this situation is a huge learning lesson for me, to grow and expand as a spiritual human being. I want to lead the country one day, for all I know.”
You’ll never want to shop again after watching this movie. In fact, you may want to get thee to a nunnery.