Sofia Coppola’s new film sees stupid, rich people “burglarizing,” rich, stupid people. In many ways it highlights the naivety of celebrities who rely on their voyeuristic relationship with the public. Leaving doors unlocked and keys under the mat, a group of teenagers sort of break and enter into various high profile actors’ houses without ever having to actually break in. And that’s the art of the film, nothing breaks in, no significance, no remorse, reality never breaks in, the victims and the criminals are all part of this extreme hyper-realized image. The film succeeds because it doesn’t build any tension, it is a short-circuiting of non-events – nothing happens that didn’t just happen – we just get to see a small spark light up in L.A..
In fact the film occupies that weird space where the kids who robbed the celebrities, themselves become minor celebrities, who of course then get played by other celebrities in the film. Celebrity culture and fame just seems to be so attractive to American culture, so accommodated in its worldview. It is no surprise that the belief, “in the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” came from an American artist. That fundamental delusion that fame would have any relation to equality is hilarious, perhaps in this light the kids were just calling time up on Paris Hilton, her sex tape lasted more than 15 minutes.
The male gang member tries to provide a critical stance towards the events, “America seems to have a sick fascination with a Bonny and Clyde kind of thing.” But no critical stance is really possible, because there is nothing to critique, it wouldn’t have any meaning if it was analysed or not. And this is where the music grabs my attention. It seemed as though when all the action was going down, the partying, the haze of communication, and the driving: we heard rap music. Yet when there were rare moments to pause we were treated to the underscoring of Oneohtrix Point Never. The rap music not only reinforced the image of the character’s stealing and dealing mentality but reinforced the idea that modern rap is devoid of any real message or space for reflection at all.
So it’s funny that the film has caused controversy. Given that the music the kids listen to glorify much worse things than what they actually do, it seems unfair that the film should take all the blame. Rachel Bilson, “thought it was weird to glorify something that was so upsetting for a lot of people,” and Mischa Barton was furious that she got mentioned for her DUI in the film. Why not get angry at the music? Mainstream Hip Hop has been saying far worse things, and glorified far worse things for a while now. Maybe music has just reached a stage further than film. In music we know it doesn’t mean anything or glorify anything but itself - a short-circuiting. It’s time film caught up.
The only person involved who seems closest to realizing the reality is in fact Paris Hilton. She offered her own house as a set for filming, allegedly crying during a screening at Cannes:
"During some parts of it, I literally had tears in my eyes and I wanted to cry. I knew what happened with the burglaries, but I had never actually seen it — so watching it happen, I was like, 'Oh my God, this really happened to me.”
Paris understands that the real burglary happened in the film. Once she saw it, it became real. She even goes onto say that she wanted, “to, like, slap them.” Good idea. Grab a 2 Chainz CD, Google Emma Watson’s address and get in the car.