The Bling Ring ★★½

"So when you lookin' at me
I give you something to see."
Surface frames
Potently empty.
L'Guccitura

Coppola’s long takes always appear to be in search of some sort of meaning; I get the feeling that she believes if she holds them just a little bit longer, some sort of epiphany will appear to the spectator (Time-Image 101). But I don’t really think there’s a there there. It’s strange, however, that I keep reading these pieces on her films (including some very intellegent analysis of The Bling Ring) and I totally agree with almost every point without finding myself any more passionate about the work on screen. So even though I see the various ways that Coppola deconstructs the motivations and tedium of her teenage protagonists, it rarely comes off as revelatory. I will admit, having interacted with my college age sister enough, that the lingo and mannerisms are sadly 100% accurate (much more than the quite alien (!) world of Spring Breakers), but I don’t know what to make past seeing everything in these characters’ lives made into a series of empty events. Coppola’s extremely intelligent camera choices (the long shot robbery is a stand out) always outpace her characters, and whether Savides shot any of it or not, the frames have his influence in the haze of LA he creates, giving this world an extra dimension of plasticity. But add to the fact that all the stuff with Leslie Mann is cringe-inducing easy targets, and I’m still lost to whether all her Antonioni-esque style really adds anything to a world that is already about empty gestures (and yes, it’s quite clever to match what one might think to be an alarm sound to a Sleigh Bells song, but it’s only clever). Did those who watched Blow-Up in 1966 already know its thesis statement before seeing the film? I want her to keep doing what she’s doing, but this is getting frustrating.