House of Gucci (2021)
“House of Gucci” stars Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayek, and Al Pacino. Released on November 24, 2021, the film depicts the events leading up to the murder of Maurizio Gucci.
The film was directed by Ridley Scott, who also directed films such as “Alien”, “Blade Runner”, “American Gangster”, and “The Martian”. It is based on the 2001 book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Glamour, and Greed by Sara Gay Forden. It looks like the Madrigals weren’t the only family that celebrated Thanksgiving last week. Back in October, Ridley Scott delivered a thought-provoking historical drama that harkens back to one of his earlier classics, “Gladiator”. That film was “The Last Duel”, a star-studded epic that impressed many of Scott’s fans but failed to connect with modern audiences regarding its box office. This week, the filmmaker is looking to try again by exploring another piece of history with a new batch of A-list actors. Like my experience with “The Last Duel”, I wasn’t familiar with the story it’s referencing and the people it’s portraying until I discovered the film’s existence. I decided to look into it beforehand, and I was fascinated by what happened, mainly Maurizio Gucci’s death caused by his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani in 1995. With Scott in the director’s chair and a bunch of award-worthy stars, I was interested in seeing how the film will translate this story. With that in mind, let’s see if it’s as murderously devious as Reggiani’s crime.
The film follows Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga) and her journey to fame and fortune. She romances Maurizio Gucci (Driver) and marries her way into the family business. Gucci is part of the dynastic Italian luxury fashion brand held by his father, Rodolfo (Irons), and his uncle Aldo (Pacino). Throughout her years as a Gucci member, Patrizia schemes to gain control of Gucci, leading up to her putting herself at odds against Maurizio. This resulted in Patrizia hiring a hitman to murder Maurizio. The movie had proven to be controversial before its release, primarily due to the actual Gucci family’s dismissal of “House of Gucci”. Long story short, they’re not happy with how the film represents the family and their business. But I’m sure you’re not here for my thoughts about that. You’re here to see if this star-studded crime drama was worth my time or not. I admired plenty of good things in this intriguing tale of legacy and murder. However, there were also a few elements that prevented the film from rising to the top, such as its story and runtime. In other words, I would say that it was somewhat of a mixed bag. While Scott showed his best efforts to provide his signature style and let the actors run the show, “House of Gucci” unfortunately fell short of delivering a fashion show for the ages. It’s an overly bloated and uneven drama that’s as stylish as their costumes but also as unintentionally campy as a high school play. I did not think I would find anything amusing about a film that involves a businessman being murdered by his ex-wife, but for some reason, Scott happened to find a way, for better or worse. Unsurprisingly, one of the only elements that I happened to enjoy was the cast, primarily Lady Gaga as Patrizia. She’s absolutely stunning, not just because of her looks but also her engaging performance. If you want another reason why Lady Gaga can act as well as she can sing, try watching this film. She offered a subtle flame in her dramatic chops that’s nearly impossible to resist without overdoing the melodrama. The fact that this was her second central role after 2018’s “A Star Is Born” makes it even more impressive in my eyes. I thought her performance in “A Star Is Born” was better, but her role here came pretty close. Adam Driver was also magnificent regarding his performance as Maurizio and his appealing chemistry with Gaga. Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino were both talented as Rodolfo and Aldo, respectively, and Salma Hayek made a solid impression as Giuseppina Auriemma. Sadly, the only actor that left me conflicted was Jared Leto as Paolo, Aldo’s son. Granted, he did put on quite a show with his performance and comical moments, but he was also one of the reasons why the film’s tone struggled to find its footing. Despite him making me laugh a few times, Leto’s acting wasn’t balanced well with its quality, resulting in some jarring moments that can be a bit hard to swallow. I’m sure that other people would enjoy Leto’s ridiculous playacting more than I did, even though he’s acting like he’s in an Italian comedy instead of a serious drama. In addition to the cast, “House of Gucci” should also be remembered for its makeup designs and costumes. They worked marvelously in transforming the actors into the actual people they were portraying. Heck, I hardly recognize Jared Leto because of that. As for its flaws, the film had a lot of beef in the story regarding its runtime. It’s two-and-a-half hours of dialogue-driven moments that involve family drama and business. The pacing can be sluggish at times, and a couple of scenes are complex. Thankfully, the main stars managed to keep things enticing without putting me to sleep. I already mentioned that the film’s tone was imbalanced, but I’m going to bring it up again. It had a hard time maintaining the dramatic elements without being unintentionally comedic in some places. As a result, it wound up being an inconsistent melodrama that lacked the emotional core in its provocative themes and storytelling.
Overall, “House of Gucci” is far from a fashion disaster, but it’s also not a fashion marvel either. The cast and Ridley Scott’s style are the only elements that make the film shine like a diamond. Everything else, in particular, makes this a pale imitation of better movies with similar themes. With its middling story, uneven tone, and beefy runtime, the film is an unfortunate misstep for Ridley Scott after delivering the goods in “The Last Duel” back in October. However, if you like the stars involved and are interested in Gucci’s downfall, you’ll probably enjoy this one more than I did.
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