The Bling Ring

Writer-director Sofia Coppola gets into the caper game, aloofly, with this true tale of the rich club kids who in 2009 stole millions in flashy loot from Tinseltown celebrities. No doubt many a term paper soon will expound on the vapid American post-downturn fame fetishes described by this and Spring Breakers, and maybe there really is more to learn about the obvious link between grasping consumerism and adrift adolescence, but is The Bling Ring glib or credulous? Satire or tragedy? Coppola seems indecisive about which of the robbers she wants to single out and, generally, reluctant to editorialize—to that end, Emma Watson’s creeping theatricality becomes a liability—so the movie’s dry humor comes across as lazy and empty. By imbuing a familiar flat-affect numbness, its maker merely invites us to infer some ambivalence about her own lifelong kinship with Hollywood culture. Noted. But she’s drawn better stuff from the same source before.