Ridley Scott goes overboard with a longish screenplay and runtime, but actors win over with fantastic performances.
The shocking true story of the family behind the Italian fashion empire inspired the House of Gucci. When Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), an outsider from humble circumstances, marries into the Gucci family, her uncontrolled ambition begins to destroy the family tradition, setting off a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, retribution, and... murder.
To sum up the House of Gucci, one can call it "new wine in an old bottle"! A gold-digger wife who doesn't appear to be one for a very long time. For the viewers, of course, she does, but not to her husband, the true heir of Gucci. The film, based on a bestselling book, features Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci, who was one-time head of the Gucci fashion house, and his later ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani, played by Gaga.
Both the actors, who scream style and talent in every frame, steal the show throughout the film. Driver and Gaga prove why they are the perfect actors to be cast in the controversial roles, which took a very long time to bring to the screen. Their chemistry is something to watch out for in the film, which could have been better explored if created as a soap opera or something on the lines of American Crime Story.
The quick succession of Maurizio falling for Patrizia and eventually getting married the very next day just couldn't set the pace well. It happens just at the length of the last sentence. In real life, the ex-couple were together for more than two decades. But in the film, it seems their story lasted just a decade or so, along with the fall of the Gucci fashion house.
Gaga as Patrizia comes across as a sly woman who wants everything in life. That's how she pursues Driver's Maurizio character on hearing his last name. Jeremy Irons plays Rodolfo Gucci, who warns him about her intentions, but Maurizio just gives a dumb ear. Although he is shown as a naive man who is being tossed between his family and his wife, Driver emerges as a sex symbol more effortlessly than Gaga.
Among all the actors who play Italian characters in the film, it's only Driver who manages to bring consistency to his accent.
The film has a delish cast, which includes the legendary Al Pacino as Aldo Gucci and Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci. Pacino walks like a panther and owns the screen once he marks his presence in the frame. But that's not something new; the star has been doing it for more than five decades now. On the other hand, Leto wins over with his unrecognisable look donning prosthetics and his gestures, which show him as the underdog of the family who is never appreciated by anyone.
Pacino and Leto's banter together is like every dysfunctional father-son duo who love each other but put power and money above their relationship.
Unfortunately, that's where the film wins over entirely; through the characterisation and the performances of the actors. The runtime of House of Gucci is among the biggest drawbacks, as Ridley Scott gave it a soap opera touch. Instead, he could have just taken that route and not made a movie.
The filmmaker knows how to create strong female characters, which he does in this film. Patrizia is the one who is the woman behind a successful man and takes down his competitors one after the other. But the film also addresses the patriarchal issue and how women in the family have been brought in to increase the bloodline while they won't have any stake in the business.
There are moments when Patrizia keeps on saying she is a Gucci too, but her voice just gets lost, as if she is banished from the falling empire. Gaga has impeccable sequences in the film which will stay in one's mind, and most of them feature Driver. Their separation scene has more impact than Maurizio's murder sequence.
Oh, before we forget, the film also features Salma Hayek in a pivotal role as a psychic named Pina. This is hands down one of the most bizarre characters the actor has played onscreen.
Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna have penned the screenplay for House of Gucci, and it uncannily looks straight from the book, with the maximum pages brought to the screen. Sadly, that did not work well with the film, which could have been pinned to more relevant chapters that led to Patrizia's deciding to kill her husband. The whole build-up comes crashing down towards the climax by creating less impact than intended to be. Along with that, Claire Simpson, who has earlier edited Scott's The Last Duel, fails to cut this film precisely or in a crispier way.
House of Gucci is watchable and you can go with the flow, but don't expect anything unbelievable or wow moments, apart from a few funny jokes.
"Father, Son, and House of Gucci" saves the long film only in parts and fails to create an impact on viewing.