At what point does an idea become redundant? Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring" is about as nuanced as an episode as "Duck Dynasty," and about as vapid. There's a certain multi-layered irony that eventually mollifies the message; an apathetic tableau of millennials, completely remiss of social mores in a film showcasing our love affair with the superficiality of popular culture. So in essence, a film about style over substance which is cripplingly plagued by, wait for it, a heavy-handed amount of style over substance.
Sofia Coppola has made a name her herself (before her father made it for her) by showcasing characters with a profound degree of social detachment. Such is the case in "The Bling Ring." While the true tale of the 2008 robberies differs by which random member of the ring you decide to ask, the film takes a different stand; they do it because they can. There is no motive, there is no foresight, there is no remorse; there is only the wanton impulse to live vicariously through inanimate objects which they pilfer from vainglorious "Celebrities."
What Sofia excels at is showcasing substance; every flashy palace, every opulent closet comprised of rows of designer dresses and shoes is shot in a style that makes the decadence almost infertile. There is no love for the flash here, there isn't even a hint of jealously from either character nor camera. It's more of a "Can you believe people really live like this?" Sofia's focus isn't the fact that we're obsessed with these people whose only claim to fame is being someone who is relatively adjacent to talent; it's the question - what is there to actually fawn over in the first place?
The problem isn't the style of the film, it really isn't even the substance, it's the fact that no matter how apropos the chord being struck is for an hour and a half, it's a chord that's been blunted after the first few robberies. How many times can a person listen to their favorite song repeatedly? After awhile, isn't it just white noise? "The Bling Ring" also has the misfortune of being not quite as gritty, gripping, or...well, good frankly as the other film to completely satire our love affair with superficiality: "Spring Breakers."
sadly, in this turn there is no James Franco's "Alien" to break up the monotony. Instead, we're treated to the oft pixie-in-this-case-debutante-in-training Emma Watson. The only form of true satire which resonates is Emma Watson's impassioned plea while she has scores of microphones shoved in her face that basically all this little exercise in law-breaking is simply a learning experience, and, oh yeah, an opportunity to plug her very own reality show.
"The Bling Ring" makes the fatal flaw of choosing stubbornness over complexity. There isn't anything here that we having seen before, despite how beautiful it was to watch it.