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I understand how you might have different levels of reaction to the various films that Sofia Coppola has directed, but I don't understand at all when I hear people try to downplay her talents as a filmmaker.
As soon as "The Virgin Suicides" ended that first theatrical screening I saw back in '99, I knew I was onboard with whatever she did in the future because that was as clear a display of filmmaker's voice as I've seen in a debut film in the last twenty years. Dreamy, literate, perfectly capturing a specific age in the life of the American teen, "Virgin Suicides" lingered long after many of 1999's more hyped movies started to fade. I quite like "Lost In Translation" as well, and even if I don't love "Marie Antoinette" or "Somewhere," I think they are absolutely the films she set out to make. She has real control over tone and she's great at building spaces for her actors.
Now, thanks to this first trailer, we've got a good idea of what she's up to with "The Bling Ring," and I'd love to talk to her to see what it was that inspired her to decide to make this particular story. Based on a series of real incidents in which a group of Los Angeles teens broke into the homes of famous people and basically tried on their lifestyles, "The Bling Ring" looks like a movie that deals with the empty seduction of fame and the way some people love to try to shortcut their way to that luxury. In some ways, "Pain and Gain" covers that same thematic ground, but it's a slightly different flavor of the American dream that ends up driving Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie mad in that film.
I thought Emma Watson did very promising work in "Perks Of Being A Wallflower" last year, and this looks like another step outside of her comfort zone. I have a feeling Sofia Coppola met many kids like these kids over the course of her privileged upbringing, and this is a world she understands. As always, I am excited to see what she's come up with.
"The Bling Ring" will open this year's Cannes Film Festival.