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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

'House Of Gucci' Review: Lady Gaga & Adam Driver Are Drunk With Glamour In Ridley Scott's Farce

The Gucci family drinking, snacking and smoking
United Artists Releasing

Neither mice nor 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 by writers Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna from Sara Gay Harden's nonfiction book 'The House Of Gucci: A Sensational Story Of Murder, Madness, Glamour, And Greed'. At first, we follow 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 for dramatic purposes, it's easy to imagine getting swept up in 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 in order to create absurdity. Gaga and Driver also get a few scenes each to do that, mostly by themselves because whenever more of the top-billing get together, moments become a competition.

Accents are flying all over as 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 tries to resemble a crime thriller. The editing styles don't help either because the transitions and pacing are so off-putting that it looks more like a compilation than one clear vision.

Photography, makeup and costumes are also full of weird choices, especially when it comes to framing Patrizia. She's often positioned powerfully but humbly next to others, lighting is bright and balanced and her appearance is always solid, making her look sympathetic which is why the (very) dark turn at the end feels unearned. The Gucci empire's story from this era has precisely all the right ingredients for either fun or dramatic telling of it but here it is sadly sacrificed just to display how grandiose a person or set pieces can be.

Smileys: Story, Jeremy Irons

Frowneys: Editing, tone, directing

A film of pastels and browns together.


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