In this post I am going to be looking at two movies that feature a gang of some bad ladies. The Bling Ring and Switchblade Sisters.
Cast Katie Chang, Isreal Broussard, Emma Watson
Writers: Nancy Jo Sales, Sofia Coppola
Director: Sofia Coppola.
It seems that nowadays it doesn’t take very much to become famous, and as long as you are not easily ashamed. You can achieve some level of success. The more outrageous and shameless you are the more fame you will gain. The nice man who helped a family from being evicted or a woman who spends a day with a handicapped person hardly gets much attention in the media these days. We tend to want to hear the bad news rather than the good because those stories make us feel good about ourselves. So when this story about teenage kids who robbed from celebrities broke in Variety Magazine. It spoke to not only that generation but to everyone too. It wasn’t that they were breaking into the homes of Jack Nicholson, Madonna, George Clooney, or Meryl Streep. They were robbing from tabloid headliners. People like Paris Hilton Lindsay Lohan and I think one of the cast members of The Hills. People that are usually made fun of in the press. Instead of pointing the finger and blaming these kids for their action. Sofia Coppola just lets you watch these characters and judge their actions on your own.
There is not a lot of back story with these characters and at first that can seem like something is missing from the plot. But Miss Coppola is smart not to include that element in the script. If we did know more about their personal lives it might give them some sort of excuse for committing these crimes when there really isn’t any. Everything has been handed to these kids since birth. None of them have any jobs,and the people they idolized are worshipped by not doing much either. Can someone please tell me what Kim Kardashian does for a living besides having her own reality show. They see these people achieve fame for very little and they want to experience just a taste of it themselves. It starts off harmless enough with just taking a few things that won’t be missed but like any other drug user knows. Once you become hooked on something, you wanna keep going further with it.
The cast of The Bling Ring are all really good. Sofia is really good at capturing the way teenagers who would be influenced by celebrities speak. They are not full of witty one liners and even though they are vapid and sometimes detesting. They are still believable and interesting. Emma Watson shines in this movie and I wish the focus was on her character Nicki instead of Marc(Isreal Broussard). Nicki’s family s just as clueless as she is,and their family meetings would make a good movie just by themselves. Marc is all right, but he’s just not that interesting of a character. Mainly because we have all seen the story about the new kid who gets influenced by a bad crowd and then chooses to go along with it or against it. The Lost Boys and Mean Girls come to mind when talking about this topic.
I will close by saying that this is one of the most mainstream projects that Sofia Coppola has done in her career. It’s a little bit more faster then her other films and yet the characters running through it are kind of slow. The plot structure doesn’t work for me and I wished it would have been told in a linear fashion. But that is a small complaint on an otherwise enjoyable film.
Cast: Robbie Lee, Joanne Nail, Asher Brauner
Writers: F.X. Maier, Jack Hill, John Prixer
Director Jack Hill.
Another group of girls with even less parental supervision are the Dagger Debs in Jack Hill’s exploitation flick “Switchblade Sisters“. These ladies are so tough they could send Alex and his droogs from “A Clockwork Orange” home with broken appendices and other parts that won’t work anymore. Not only are they tough, but they are smart and play the system because of their age. No matter what charges they get arrested for. They know they will be released in just a week because they are juveniles. Yes these are bad people, but we cheer for them because the police force that try to incarcerate them are even worse than they are. Even the rival gang they fight have more horrible tendencies, and the ones here are the worse because they have political power. Down with the man.
After we meet the Dagger Debs. We soon discover that they are just the girlfriends of a male gang called the Silver Daggers. Lace(Robbie Lee) the leader of the Dagger Debs is dating Dominic(Asher Brauner) the leader of the Silver Daggers. When a new girl named Maggie(Joanne Nail) joins the group. Both her and Lace form a friendship. That friendship is soon shattered when a rumor begins that Dominic and Maggie have started a relationship behind her back. But the truth is the only real problem I have with this movie But I will explain that later. Meanwhile a rival gang lead by Crabs (Chase Newhart) transfers to their school and soon an all out war is about to break out.
This gritty low-budget, exploitation flick stand out from others in this genre and it’s due to the story and the actors. Robbie Lee is great as the tough as nails leader Lace. She acts very tough around her gang, but really wants to settle down and have a family. Patch(Monica Gayle) is also an interesting character. She is Lace’s main assistance but when watching it I get the feeling she is doing more leading than following. Joanne Nail as Maggie is great and I like how she leads the rest of the girls to form their own gang and make them belive they don’t need men to protect them. Her speech at the end made me want to get up and cheer. However her actions in those final moments don’t match with what happened earlier that I will now explain.
Lace gives Maggie a love note to bring to Dominic but it’s intercepted by another member and read out loud. humiliated, Dominic goes to Maggie’s house and I think rapes her. I say think because she never really fights back. Let me explain that last statement. Maggie is shown right from the start to be able to handle herself. Hell she took on a woman who was much bigger than Dominic at Juvie. So when she doesn’t fight back during or after the attack. It made me question why didn’t she tell Lace about what happened and have the girls get revenge on him. I’m sure Lace would not belive it, but I’m guessing that some of the other girls would. It would be a great battle between the Silver Daggers and the Dagger Debs. An all out war of the sexes.
In closing this is still a fun movie a lot of great action, cool characters and a good story.
Both The Bling Ring and Switchblade Sisters each get a high recommendation from me.