'House Of Gucci' Review
Neither a mouse or moose are allowed in this prestigious building that is the House Of Gucci, director Ridley Scott's latest that observes the Gucci family's fashion empire from the 1970s to their scandalous demise in the 90s, adapted to the big screen by writers Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna. At first, we follow an outsider Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) who meets and pursues young Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), son of Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) who owns half of Gucci along with his brother Aldo (Al Pacino). Patrizia and Maurizio end up getting serious and marrying each other which leads them, much driven by her appetite for power, to hijack the family business after Rodolfo's passing, even if that requires some vicious tactics to remove Aldo and his son Paolo (Jared Leto) from the picture.
If you're also unfamiliar with the real-life story of Gucci and do not know what, if anything, is embellished or left out here for dramatic purposes, it's easy to imagine being swept up on that drama because the character arcs, conflicts and dark motives are all there. Those story beats also work incredibly well when specific actors are conducting the scenes, namely Irons who isn't trying to be the loudest in the room but instead inhabits his character to create the absurdity. Gaga and Driver also get a few scenes each to do that, mostly when by themselves because whenever more of the top-billing get together, moments become a competition. Accents are flying in and out, Leto's Mario-infused-pasta-commercial-star Paolo is certainly amusing on his own but House Of Gucci isn't a satirical comedy per se so he doesn't fit in and characters become caricatures, leading Scott to lose all control of his actors. What starts as a movie about rich people having rich problems becomes a masquerade and while you can have a decent amount of fun at one, it's still a costume party and not a cinematic event.
Scott and his closest collaborators including DOP Dariusz Wolski, costume designer Janty Yates, and editor Claire Simpson do not seem to be on the same page at all so it's very hard to tell what Scott wants to do or say with the film. It's certainly at its strongest when it tries to be that satirical comedy but then the next scene is so heavily dramatic or resembling a crime thriller. Editing of it all doesn't help because the transitions and pacing are so off-putting that it looks more like a compilation than one unified vision. Photography, makeup and costumes are also full of weird choices, especially when it comes to framing of Patrizia; she's often positioned powerfully but humbly next to others, lighting is bright and balanced and her appearance is always solid, these make her look sympathetic which is why the (very) dark turn at the end feels rushed. Story of the Gucci empire from this era has precisely all the right ingredients for either fun or dramatic telling of it, here it is sacrificed just to display how grandiose a person or set piece can be.
Smileys: Story, Jeremy Irons
Frowneys: Editing, tone, directing
A film of pastels and browns together.