By Ben King
“Father, son, and house of Gucci”, proclaims Lady Gaga in the very first trailer for Universal’s House Of Gucci, a true crime biographical drama about the assassination of Maurizio Gucci. The instantly iconic – and memeable line from Gaga cemented the film as one of the most anticipated releases of 2021. With big names attached to the project (Ridley Scott, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Al Pacino), House Of Gucci looked to be a delectable thanksgiving treat. Alas, the film committed the biggest cardinal sin in Hollywood history – being a bore.
House Of Gucci stars Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani and Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci, whose fiery romance leads to turmoil, greed, glamour, and ultimately murder within the Gucci clan. Jared Leto, Al Pacino, and Jeremy Irons all play a member of the Gucci family, while Salma Hayek plays Pina, Patrizia’s close friend and eventual confidant.
Clocking in at 2 hours and 28 minutes, House Of Gucci is a slog to get through, point blank. A huge chunk of the film is quite boring, which is made all the more disappointing considering the material the producers were working with. A real-life story about the rise & fall of Gucci, combined with the assasination of Maurizio Gucci by his own wife Patriza, with a star-studded cast tapped to detail this fascinating story. This movie should not have been boring in the slightest.
Another problem with the film is the amount of story Ridley Scott, the director, wanted to cover. Instead of solely focusing on Patrizia’s and Maurizio’s relationship, Scott decided to cover the entire downfall, and eventual comeback of the Gucci fashion brand. This would have made for a great television series – but doesn’t bode well for a movie that is trying to shove 3 decades of storytelling down our throats. This left each story feeling unfulfilled and rushed, as there wasn’t enough time to adequately cover each piece.
The editing of this movie was horrendous. I’m all for a campy, klutzy movie that uses the tonal changes to its advantage – but with House Of Gucci, almost every single edit was the wrong choice. One moment, the film would be tugging on your heartstrings and eliciting an emotional response, and in the next, Jared Leto would saunter onto the screen sounding like Mario. The tonal shifts felt like whiplash.
Even with its many problems, House Of Gucci does have some nice elements, mainly Lady Gaga. After appearing in 2018’s A Star Is Born, some naysayers were skeptical at the singer’s acting chops, as they (baselessly) accused Gaga of playing herself. But here, in House Of Gucci, Gaga leaves no room for question – she is an actress (and a great one at that). Patrizia Reggiani comes alive on the big screen, and Gaga steals every scene she’s in, which is no small feat alongside veteran actors. Her performance electrifies the entire film, and is what ultimately saved the movie from “unwatchable” territory.
Aside from Gaga, the acting is top notch across the board. Al Pacino & Jeremy Irons deliver reliable performances as always, and Adam Driver balances the fine line between caring and cruel. Jared Leto is the other standout, looking unrecognizable in his prosthetic make-up.
The film is also gorgeous. From a production standpoint, you can’t get much better than this. The costumes throughout the film are all simply stunning, and the progression of Patrizia shown through her clothing was particularly impactful. The locations are extravagant and ooze of Gucci wealth, while the cinematography allows for some gorgeous shots.
All in all, would I recommend House Of Gucci? As a casual movie viewer, no. There are much better projects worth your time. But, if you regularly watch movies, and genuinely appreciate the craftsmanship of films, then yes, I would say this is worth checking out. I’m glad I watched it once – but I don’t think there will be a second viewing. At least not for a long time.