Lady Gaga stars as Patrizia Reggiani and Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci in Ridley Scott’s HOUSE OF GUCCI A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film Photo credit: Fabio Lovino © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

House of Gucci Review: Fashionably Messy

It is, to put it mildly, a lot.

The astonishingly bizarre true story of the contract murder of Gucci fashion house heir Maurizio Gucci by his ex-wife Patrizia Regianni comes with so much potential. It’s a shame that House of Gucci doesn’t live up to its promise. Despite an all-star ensemble cast and director Ridley Scott behind the camera, House of Gucci is neither a prestige drama nor a campy extravaganza despite over-the-top performances by Lady Gaga and Jared Leto.

Covering two decades of family drama and fashion, House of Gucci seems to borrow from Succession’s focus on an awful rich family doing awful things. Opening with Maurizio Gucci (Driver) being gunned down on the steps of his Gucci office in a hit orchestrated by his estranged wife Patrizia (Gaga), the story quickly rewinds back to Milan in 1978 where the two first met. A Gucci heir, Maurizio has little interest in the family business. Much to the chagrin of his father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), Maurizio leaves his fortune behind for love.

But Patrizia has dollar signs in her eyes, setting her sights on Uncle Aldo (Al Pacino) and his buffoon of a son, Paolo (Jared Leto). Ambitious and cunning, Patrizia manages to wrangle control of the business over to herself and Maurizio, rupturing the family’s stakes in the fashion house. Of course, all is fine in the life of the rich and famous until Maurizio decides it’s time to end their marriage, setting himself on the eventual path to his own demise.

It is, to put it mildly, a lot.

Advertisements

Excess is the name of the game for this cast who have all proven themselves accomplished actors in their own rights as Oscar winners and nominees. But somehow, all of their skills are lost in translation when it comes to telling this story. Is it the accents that can only be described as vaguely Italian-ish? Or is it that the tonally uneven story just doesn’t gel? Perhaps it’s the sense that each one of these actors appears to be part of a completely different movie.

Gaga and Pacino seem like they are having a heck of a lot of fun inhabiting their characters. Their scenes together are some of the best among the film’s bloated 2 hour and 44-minute runtime. Salma Hayek also seems to be having a lot of fun as Patrizia’s personal “spiritual advisor.” (Fun fact: Hayek’s real-life billionaire husband Henri-Francois Pinault currently owns the Gucci brand.) Driver seems to be given little to do as Maurizio other than stand back and watch his family implode. He is the odd straight man amid a cast of eccentrics, but when looking beyond the scenery-chewing of his co-stars, there is little for Driver to do without a no character arc.

While the whole point might be to deliver over-the-top performances of larger-than-life characters, none does so more than Jared Leto. Unrecognizable in the role of the idiot cousin Paolo, Leto looks neither like himself nor like the real Paolo, but he makes sure that viewers will definitely not miss him on screen in any scene because he is ACTING. He will prove his Oscar-winning skills by out-acting anyone he is in a scene with, to the point of distraction. His co-stars are the wealthy backstabbers in an episode of Succession but he’s cracking jokes like he’s a member of the Bluth family in Arrested Development. Had his co-stars gone equally BIG with their performances and wacky dialogue, House of Gucci would be the biggest campfest since Burlesque.

Nevertheless, I can’t decide if Leto is the greatest thing about House of Gucci or the absolute worst. Paolo is perhaps the film’s most tragic figure, but with such a bombastic showing, Leto removes any emotional investment a viewer might have in the character. Seriously, Paolo got such a raw deal as a Gucci, with a family like that, who needs enemies?

Advertisements

For a movie centred around the world of fashion, House of Gucci is almost appallingly unfashionable. The brand at the heart of the family drama seems inconsequential to the story. The Guccis are their own three-ring circus. But, by the time the credits roll, viewers might feel like they’ve gained little insight into the family beyond the cutthroat and ambitious woman who will stop at nothing to get her way.

But there, too, House of Gucci falls short. It takes so long to set up the story of Maurizio’s murder, the film’s finale glosses over some of the more bizarre and interesting aspects of the crime. With a lengthy runtime, this story could have easily made a digestible and exciting limited series. Namely, I would like to know more about how Patrizia’s arrest came after authorities received an anonymous tip. Or how she got a pet ferret named Bambi in prison with her (before the ferret was sat on and killed by a fellow inmate). Or how she’s often spotted walking around Milan with a parrot on her shoulder. I still have questions that House of Gucci failed to answer.

House of Gucci opens in theatres on November 24.

5 1 vote
Article Rating


Comments

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Advertisement



Advertisement


Advertisement