Cannes Review Roundup: ‘The Bling Ring,’ ‘Young & Beautiful’ and ‘The Past’ Divide Audiences
Actually, it might seem a little odd that such a decidedly American story -- and L.A.-centric, at that -- would be one of the first films to screen this year, but Coppola is a Cannes regular, having premiered both "The Virgin Suicides" (1999) and "Marie Antoinette" (2006) at the festival. While those two offerings might have been more Euro-flavored (in either tone or content), "The Bling Ring" -- and all its airheaded American obsession with fame n' notoriety -- looks to be a more well-received film than either the so-slight-it's-barely-there "Somewhere" (2010) or the extremely divisive "Marie Antoinette."
Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian calls it "an intuitive and atmospheric tale" and "an unexpected pleasure" and praises Coppola's directing, saying there's "something in her unjudging approach that is unexpectedly appropriate -- and effective."
Cath Clarke of Time Out London is especially taken with star Emma Watson, saying that "the real story here isn't the good-girl-goes-bad stunt casting; it's that Watson can act. Against the odds, the 'Harry Potter' star gives a sharp, knowing smart performance as Nicki." Clarke also praises "The Bling Ring" as "easily Coppola’s funniest film."
The film's biggest champion so far is Robbie Cullin of The Telegraph, who says "Coppola’s uproarious and bitingly timely film feels every inch a necessary artwork" and that "Everything comes together for the good here: visuals, performances, raucous soundtrack, Coppola’s teasing flirtation with, yet ultimate lack of commitment to, some kind of concrete morality."
However, as is usually the case with a Sofia Coppola film, "The Bling Ring" certainly has its share of detractors -- some more enthusiastic in their disliking of the film than others.
Mark Adams of Screen Daily calls it "an impressively mannered and vividly evocative delve into the glossily vacuous side of fame-obsessed Los Angeles" and "a a cool and smart look at the antics of young teens who stole from the rich and famous," but notes that it "frustratingly lacks the drama and narrative drive to grip audiences, despite the impressive efforts of the young cast."
Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter says the film is "beautifully shot" (by ace cinematographer Harris Savides, who died halfway through production, and his longtime operator, Christopher Blauvelt) but "light on social commentary," in that "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."
The real non-believers are revealing themselves on Twitter with a series of one-sentence blasts:
"BLING RING - what was evidently a non-event of a "news" story becomes a non-event of a movie. S.Coppola's still taken seriously by anyone?" - Neil Young, Jigsaw Lounge