House of Gucci is a curious biographical crime drama adaptation from Ridley Scott, taken from the perspective of gregarious maverick Patrizia Reggiani, daughter to a ground transportation magnate. Based on the true story, it offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes tale of the Gucci brand, its origins and rise to becoming one of Italy’s most sought after product lines and recognised brands on the back of a dysfunctional family.
A stellar ensemble, Lady Gaga is in fighting form as a go-getter who marries into the Gucci family with ulterior motives. Playing opposite her is Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci, giving the two an awkward yet believable chemistry as orchestrated romance leads to betrayal and finally murder. It’s wonderful to have the likes of Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons in the wings, while the Jared Leto show adds to the comic relief with a performance bordering on clown as the eccentric Paolo Gucci.
An ode to the style empire and its far-reaching influence, it’s not surprising to see this quality carry through in the mis-en-scene with an attempt to be period accurate and timeless. Checking in at well over two hours, House of Gucci is mostly entertaining in spite of its epic runtime, possibly trying to draw loose parallels as a style house version of The Godfather. While a noble effort, Scott’s film has a stronger resonance with American Hustle, masking an undercurrent of unintentional comedy through its flamboyance and some inconsistent accent work.
“Did you hear the one about the parrot with no legs?”
The film’s star power, committed performances, good pacing and series of crumbling fashion empire scandals add up to a larger-than-life atmosphere with enough entertainment value to persevere. The production values, cast and gamesmanship offer a level of engagement, however without having any characters to root for, House of Gucci keeps you on the outside just like it’s ambitious central character.
House of Gucci isn’t messy or quirky enough to be a misfire, but its main appeal is found in the picturesque film’s sense of panache and skullduggery. Having directed All the Money in the World, Scott knows how to swathe a prestige drama but House of Gucci is much more playful. Thankfully, Lady Gaga and Adam Driver’s impassioned performances keep things on the burn while the sideshow characters add colour in a tabloid style chronicle about the dirt behind the illustrious family name.
The bottom line: Spicy