Coppola neither makes a case for her characters nor places them inside of some kind of moral or critical framework; they simply pass through the frame, listing off name brands and staring at their phones.
s Coppola offering a critique (a stated hope) or somehow being complicit? These questions seem to coil in on themselves, making The Bling Ring that weird yet common hybrid of tsk-tsking and celebration.
The kids' story was irresistible to the media, permitting both sensationalism and easy zeitgeist commentary, and that's about as far as writer-director Sofia Coppola takes it in this big-screen dramatization.
The young actors, including Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, and a very un-Harry Potter-ish Emma Watson, are engagingly blank, and Coppola films their exploits with a smooth and slowly accumulating creepiness.
Always adept at directing young performers, Coppola encourages fine work here from her cast of mostly newcomers, with Watson taking special relish in shedding her goody-two-shoes "Harry Potter" persona.
Perhaps even more here than in her other films, Coppola's attitude toward her subject seems equivocal, uncertain; there is perhaps a smidgen of social commentary, but she seems far too at home in the world she depicts to offer a rewarding critique of it.