Cinema: Booze, Birkins and bad behaviour in California

Cinema: Booze, Birkins and bad behaviour in California
Amateur burglars: Katie Chang is ringleader Rebecca while Israel Broussard is Marc, the impressionable new student she coerces into joining her on her illegal jaunts into the homes of Hollywood’s rich and famous.

Robbing the homes of the rich and famous as a social enterprise - or going shopping without having to pay for anything - may be an outrageous notion to us ordinary folk, but when you're a) obsessed with fame, b) desperate to grab a slice of the high life and c) attend high school in Southern California with like-minded people, then it's just kids having a blast.

Well, not really. The Bling Ring is based on the hard-to-believe but apparently real-life antics of a cabal of high school students who perpetrate home invasions when the celebrity occupants are out of town, and then depart with stashes of luxury consumer goods, cash, clothes and cars, among other things.

Booze, Birkins and bad behaviour are all part of the programme in this film, written and directed by Sofia Coppola, about the extremes that some people will go to in order to keep up with the Hiltons and the Lohans.

The movie is part satire and part social commentary on celebrity excess and young people who have - to put it mildly - an unhealthy fascination with the upper echelons of the Hollywood set. As Coppola's movie makes clear, this is not the crowd you want your kids to hang out with.

The friends you make in high school could remain friends beyond graduation.

In The Bling Ring's case, this is not a good thing. Choose wisely, and you could be well-connected for life. Or you could end up with a criminal record. As a self-aware teen says in one early scene: "Be careful about who we surround ourselves with because we end up being the average of those people."

Unfortunately, bad taste in clothes and friends is not a jailable offence. Impressionable new student Marc (Israel Broussard) is befriended by Rebecca (Katie Chang), a cutie who makes a habit of taking illegal tours of Hollywood homes.

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