Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Harmony Korine vs. Sofia Copolla

Emma Watson stars as the 'ring leader' in The Bling Ring (2013)
With Spring Breakers (2013) on top of the box office charts in its first week of release, and The Bling Ring (2013) slated to be Sofia Copolla's most interesting film yet in a sea of non-interesting bullshit fluff, one has to compare the two considering the subject matters are extremely similar thematically. 
Both concern bright young things with 'a talent for living' who are not shall we say well-off but not necessarily starving either and go on crime sprees if for no better reason than that they're bored. 
In Spring Breakers, the motivation is to find sufficient funds to keep the beer flowing and the bikinis off for an endless spring break that leads to violence and murder, while in The Bling Ring, a bunch of spoiled brats from Beverly Hills decide to rob other rich peoples homes if for nothing more than attention, which they got. They even made a show about it which aired on E! called 'Pretty Wild'. Needless to say, it didn't do so well. 
Beautiful still from Spring Breakers (2013)

The motivation of crime for crime's sake stretches way back to the times of the infamous Leopold and Loeb case where two rich lovers decided to kill a young boy believing themselves to be personifications of the Nietzscheian 'Superman', killers without consequence, those who do the crime without ever considering of doing the time, just to see if they could get away with it, and more often than not, they can't. 
In both films the characters are hipstery brats that have nothing better to do with time, and we love to hate their careless abandon but also embrace it as we live vicariously through them for a little under 2 hours. 
The members of the so-called Bling Ring and co-starring skinny jeans.
Both of these themes run parallel in the stories of both films, so the question becomes who will be the more outrageous. Clearly, my money's on Korine. I love the man, and if you've ever watched any of his films he's one step away from pure Vincent Gallo-esque outrageousnous.
Sofia on the other hand, has always been close but no cigar. Her films almost have a point, and then they don't. It's just about sad and lonely people in a world that doesn't understand them and....snore. 
But I have to give her at least some credit, after watching the trailer for The Bling Ring, I was almost impressed. The Sleigh Bells playing in the background was also helpful, and it looks rather accurate if it's actually based on the facts which her prior film Marie Antoinette (2005) was certainly not. 
Haromony Korine, one of our generation's greatest auteurs.
Therefore we have to think of these films as a series in the portfolio of auteurs, and for Korine, this definitely fits in with his repertoire. Drugs, sex, violence, and everything bizarre have always been the corner stone of his content, and what he's able to do with it so brashly and apologetically is nothing short of art. If The Bling Ring (2013) is to be taken seriously, and looks like it's going to be, it's going to have some serious shoes to fill. The film needs to be sardonic, contemptible, fanatical, and tawdry, all in the best way imaginable. It needs to be filthy like Korine, or it will be just as forgettable as all her other endeavors, so I guess Sofia, I wish you luck. You'll need it.

Official trailer for The Bling Ring (2013)

Official trailer for Spring Breakers (2013)

An excerpt from 'Pretty Wild' the show about the girls who started the bling ring, featuring ring leader Alexis Neiers.

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