Thursday, January 19, 2012

Movie: The Bling Ring (2011)

Based on a true story, this movie is about the infamous bunch of teenagers who robbed the rich and famous in Hollywood and baffled the authorities and the cops during the one year of their series of robberies.

Also known as "Hollywood Hills Burglars Bunch" or "Hollywood Hills Burglars", this group of young adolescents reportedly broke into the homes of Paris Hilton, Audrina Patridge, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson, Megan Fox/Brian Austin Green and Lindsay Lohan.
Names of these young delinquents have been changed in the movie due to legal matters.

The Cast:
Austin Butler - Zack Garvey
Yin Chang - Natalie Kim
Tracey Fairaway - Cherry Cox
Alix Elizabeth Gitter - Moon
Tom Irwin - Detective Archie Fishman
Sebastian Sozzi - Detective Jenks
Jennifer Grey - Iris Garvey
Wendy Makkena - Celia Fishman

Synopsis:
The movie starts off with the story of Zack Garvey (Austin Butler) who had just been transferred to a new school and his shy personality led to difficulties for him in making friends with his new high school classmates. He met Natalie Kim (Yin Chang), and was determined to keep her impressed by making up a tale about being invited to a party at Paris Hilton's place.
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What started up as a game of lies, turned into a dangerous web of greed and crimes as Zack and Natalie successfully stole clothes and cash from Paris Hilton's house and even managed to capture photos of themselves.
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Naming their activity as "shopping", Natalie and Zack soon embarked on a high-risk yet adventurous night activity of breaking into the houses of the rich and famous on their list of targets and selling their loot to a guy named "Savage".

The motive behind their actions is mainly to fulfill the fashionable tastes of the daring Natalie, who selected her targets based on their clothes and accessories which she has a penchant for and desired to make them her own. Zack would then be the one to track the celebrity's house address and their activities via Facebook and Twitter, to check when they would be out of town; for them to commit their crime.
They managed to make money out of their prized possessions from all their successful attempts, and Natalie decided to share her joy with her girl friends; Cherry, Moon whom she shared the secret with and recruited them into the gang, much to Zack's anxiety.
Zack was starting to worry when they were captured on the surveillance camera's footage in Audrina Patridge's home and she uploaded it into her blog.

When nothing seemed to happen, the gang got complacent and continued to rob houses of the celebrities the girls targeted for their fashion tastes or their desires for the clothings/accessories they spotted on the media.
The gang got bolder as the police did not seem to be able to track them; and continued to rob the homes of the rich and famous.
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Zack then befriended a new girl at a neighboring school; Maddie whom he was portrayed to have a romantic interest in and it was then that Zack wanted to pull out of the gang.
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Natalie was unhappy with his decision and when he refused to join in their 'shopping' at Lindsay Lohan's place, Natalie invited Maddie to join them for a fun night out and brought her to their target's house. Maddie was quite drunk and even threw up in the bathroom and insisted on going home. Zack showed up to take her home, but Maddie was furious that Zack was involved in the illegal activity and that he had betrayed her trust.

Detective Fishman, was a veteran transfer, and was often ridiculed by his fellow colleagues for not being up to date with the Hollywood buzz. However, he was the one who started identifying the trends in the burglaries; from the sweet wrappers to the types of stuffs they took that he finally led his team to believe that the criminals could be teenagers which was the main reason they could not match most of the fingerprints to their database.
His careful investigation, teamed with his intelligence brought him hot on the tracks when he found Zack on Facebook from his video in Youtube and then linked him to his friends.
He followed Zack's status updates in Facebook and even set up a trap by creating a fake Facebook account to lure Zack into believing he was a potential buyer for his celebrity goods.

The detective contacted Zack, and offered to help him if he was willing to cooperate with the police but at the same time, Savage threatened Zack that he would harm his family if he were to go to the police. When Zack did not show up for his appointment with Fishman, the detective was adamant to nail the gang red-handed and tracked them on their Twitter to learn of their next target. They were conned the first time, but they obtained warrants of search and arrest and managed to uncover the loot at Zack's house. Zack worked with them to trap Savage; on the condition that Maddie is to be cleared of the crime.
When they arrived at Natalie's house, she was on her way to the airport to fly to Las Vegas to live with her dad, and she pleaded with the police to offer them information about the gang.

The gang was finally arrested; making them one of the most prolific burglars in history due to their successful one year of robberies in Hollywood.

My review/opinion:
This is a high-profile series of robberies, and the reasons are obvious; as their targets are all the rich and famous in Hollywood. There was so much publicity about their activities and it took the cops some time to be on their tracks.
Newspaper reports that some of the celebrities were even robbed more than once; due to their exquisite fashion tastes and also the easy accessibility into their homes.
This is a rather good adaptation of the actual events; although they have changed the story a little but the the group consists of mostly popularity/attention-starved bunch of teens who just wanted excitement and to be noticed by others in their lives.
However, they used the wrong way to fulfill their needs, and the worse is, they got complacent and even greedy when they thought they are above the law.

A good movie to watch on teenagers; and the influence of media and parents' education have on their behavior. Although most of them came from good homes, but they still got themselves involved in such activity. Was it because of their parents or they were responsible themselves? Also, how could young adults like these be sucked into so much fashion trends and owning luxury items, that they could turn into idolizing these materialism to turn it into crime?

A time to look into the minds of the youngsters these days...

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