House of Gucci: Film Review

Universal

Out of Ridley Scott‘s two 2021 movies, House of Gucci appealed to me the most, so I never would have predicted that I’d like The Last Duel significantly more, but here we are.

The film tells the story of how Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) met and married Gucci heir Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) and helped him manoeuvre his way to the top of the family fashion business. The movie begins with them meeting at a party in 1970 and concludes in 1997, with Patrizia being convicted of hiring a hitman to kill her ex-husband in 1995.

Given the premise, I expected House of Gucci to be fun, exciting, engaging, gripping and rather camp but it is bizarrely none of those things. It’s baffling. I would be going too far by calling it boring but the film fails to live up to the shocking real-life scandal that it’s depicting and it feels really long, even though it covers a large timeframe and packs in a lot of content.

The narrative is also bloated and I came away with many questions so I needed to do a lot of research to fill in the gaps and clarify the chronology of events. I know there are probably plenty of filmmaking reasons why certain elements needed to be streamlined (like them having one daughter when they actually had two) but I thought there were too many unexplained aspects – for example, who exactly was Domenico De Sole (Jack Huston)? How was Patrizia’s hitman plot discovered? I also didn’t think the jump between Patrizia’s last conversation with Maurizio and her plotting to kill him felt logical or earned and I would have liked an exploration into her motives and why she felt like that was the solution.

It is also tonally all over the place and that’s basically because Jared Leto as Maurizio’s cousin Paolo seems like he’s in a completely different movie to everyone else. They’re all playing it straight and acting like they’re in a drama whereas he plays this eccentric, larger-than-life Italian caricature in a comedy. His accent is ridiculous (think Super Mario and you’ve got the idea), his acting is OTT and you couldn’t describe his performance as good, but he is the most entertaining person here! He is absolutely hilarious and made me laugh out loud a lot (whether this was intentional or not). I’m not sure why Scott let him just go for it and act so differently to everyone else, but I have to admit he brought the fun.

Gaga has spoken a lot about how committed she was to her performance and her hard work and dedication is apparent onscreen. She is sensational and I fully believed her as Patrizia, plus she has the most consistent Italian accent in the cast. She easily adapts to Patrizia’s journey, from her beginnings as a young and in love person to a manipulative puppet master to a scorned, ugly, desperate woman. She threw herself into all facets of Patrizia and I’ll be amazed if she doesn’t land an Oscar nomination.

Driver, in his second Scott film of the year, does well but he doesn’t really stand out among all the bigger, showier characters, and I also enjoyed Al Pacino as his uncle Aldo – he was a great fit for the part – and Salma Hayek as Patrizia’s clairvoyant and confidante Pina. The accents are dodgy as hell and the worst offender was Jeremy Irons as Maurizio’s father Rodolfo as he still sounded British more often than not.

House of Gucci really is a mixed bag. It’s a high-fashion soap opera with a killer soundtrack, gorgeous outfits, amazing hair and make-up and some fantastic performances but it’s nowhere near as entertaining as it should have been. Real shame.

In cinemas from Friday 26th November

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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