Chekhov's Gunman

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“Vapidity is Only Skin Deep”- The Bling Ring Review

The Bling Ring Emma Watson

Normally I pack these reviews full of spoilers, but I’m going to keep this one spoiler free. You wanna talk plot? Take to the comments like a crew of flaky teenagers to Paris Hilton’s house.

For a movie that places style so high over substance, it was a strange choice to make the narrative follow the substance instead of the style. When we have all of these fun and gorgeous women running around, it’s a really poor decision to force us to cart around with the dull guy with a strange and unexplored affinity for wearing women’s shoes. It’s a rookie mistake, one I’d never expect to see from Sofia Coppola, the scourge of the Godfather franchise.

But that’s Marc, the rookie mistake. Played by Israel Broussard in the least interesting way possible, Marc is our Neo in this hip hop Matrix, our Luke into this Lohan Star Wars, the eyes through which we glimpse the world as far more interesting characters are off doing more interesting things. He’s the new kid at “dropout high school,” populated by what seem to be the smoking, cocaine-abusing dregs of seventeen-year-old society. It’s there that he meets Rebecca (Katie Chang), who he describes as his first “real friend.” It’s her damning influence that leads Marc to start robbing celebrities when gossip websites tell him they’ll be out of town.

Coppola paints us a portrait of absolute glitz and stardom. Walls covered in shoes, mirrors on every surface, secret club rooms, and Paris Hilton having her face absolutely smattered all over her own house. Rebecca is obsessed with Lindsey Lohan and has a bulletin board in her honor.

The film suffers from being absolutely gobsmackingly repetitive, and is really nothing more than montage of dumb hot people robbing different celebrities’ houses. I swear to Lohan they must have robbed Paris Hilton’s house like four times. There’s no internal conflict between the characters besides Marc spouting his catchphrase “We should get the fuck out of here,” which he must say verbatim at least once during each of the heistings.

The film is about the vapid nature of celebrity, what some will do to feel like stars when they really have nothing else, and that really shows in Coppola’s direction. Working off her own wonky script, we get a portrait of vapidity so dense that it goes straight into the script, not giving the actors much to play with, though they still find some things to hold on to.

Of course, Emma Watson is the clear standout, turning in a really transformative performance and proving that girl’s got range, yo. There’s something going on beneath the surface of Watson’s Nicki, and that something is nothing. Her character runs so thoroughly with nothing, and it is positively fascinating to watch. And, let’s be honest, even though I try to not do this here at Chekhov’s Gunman, she is positively gorgeous in the role and brings a sexiness I think we’ve all been picturing from Hermione for a long time now.

Also of note is Claire Julien as Chloe, in her first film role apart from “Maid #3” in The Dark Knight Rises. She takes on the exact body language and voice of a hard party rocker girl and steals the show when she’s allowed to say words.

All in all, the film is a bit of a wash, although not without its moments. The standout scene in the film is simple: One girl on Xanex and one gun from Megan Fox’s house. It’s incredibly thrilling in a movie without much going on. There’s also a dance sequence near the end very reflexive of those at the top of the film, but cut slightly differently and scored with a deeper, more threatening dubstep that gives it a totally different feel from those before, which is the mark of a truly talented director who just seems to be really wasting her talents here.

Final Verdict: B  — For the best use of slow motion I’ve seen this year and a pair of really solid performances.

Chekhov’s Gunman is a film and television blog moderated by Kevin Lanigan, a future writer of movies and TV and current writer of dramatic love poems to Emma Watson. Be sure to subscribe or follow above, and share your thoughts down in the comments.

Come back for reviews of other top movies and television, and also a weekly Mexican Standoff, and some additional Good Stuff.

You can also follow Kevin on Twitter.

God, I hate dance music…

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