Director: Ridley Scott
Cast: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto, Al Pacino, Salma Hayek, Jack Huston
Genre: Biographical drama, crime
Country / Language: USA / English
Duration: 2 hr 37 min
Release date: November 26, 2021
‘House of Gucci’, the new biographical film which recounts the life of Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), was released in Indian cinemas last week.
Directed by Ridley Scott (‘Alien’, ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Thelma and Louise’), ‘House of Gucci’ follows Patrizia in the 1970s as she meets her future husband Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), a member of the renowned Gucci fashion house and family. They eventually get married and Patrizia is slowly incorporated into the family’s business. Familial jealousy and business wars ensue.
The drama film is flashy and flamboyant. It is of an epic scale with a high budget which is apparent from the star-studded cast (including Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Salma Hayek and Jared Leto) to the frequent location hopping which takes place (from Milan to Switzerland to New York City).
The costumes worn by Gaga are sumptuous. It’s a film about the fashion world after all. Lady Gaga is on her A-game here as she essays the role of the tough and passionate Patrizia with style and panache.
She is extremely watchable and really gets into the skin of the business mogul while holding her own against veteran actors like Irons and Pacino. Those who may be surprised at her strong turn may want to know that Gaga has already proved her mettle with her shiny roles in 2018’s ‘A Star Is Born’ and the ‘American Horror Story: Hotel’ series. Anyways, who better to portray a fashion icon than the glamorous pop star Gaga?
What makes ‘House of Gucci’ successful is its refusal to take everything too seriously. It is a campy popcorn entertainment with the feeling of a soap opera that observes rich, successful and narcissistic people get into petty fights and form alliances. In fact, a critic has famously called the film “an extended ‘Paparazzi’ music video”. “Paparazzi” is a Lady Gaga song is accompanied by a music video where Gaga murders her boyfriend and gets into paparazzi scandals. And then she is jailed.
Without giving away too much of the actual story, and for those who do not know what happened in the Gucci family in the 90s, this movie will be unpredictable and highly entertaining.
Jeremy Irons (‘The Lion King’) plays the family patriarch and Maurizio’s father Rodolfo Gucci. He delivers a chilling presence as the ageing and yet, intimidating figure that stands for tradition and prestige. Al Pacino (‘Scarface’) plays Rodolfo’s brother and Maurizio’s uncle Aldo Gucci. Pacino plays him as an ageing but still youthful, ambiguous character who becomes a thorn in the side of Patrizia and Maurizio. Some say that Pacino was not the best casting choice to play Aldo Gucci.
The most vocal about this was Patrizia Reggiani herself who herself said the following statement to the press, “My grandfather was a very handsome man, like all the Guccis, and very tall, blue eyes and very elegant. “He is being played by Al Pacino, who is not very tall already, and this photo shows him as fat, short, with sideburns, really ugly. Shameful, because he doesn’t resemble him at all.”
Adam Driver plays Maurizio Gucci as a quiet, observant man. He seems harmless at first, more like one someone would pity rather than be intimidated by. But then the actor shows his darker side as we watch Maurizio snake everyone else in the company for his own gains. We got a similar performance from Driver in 2019’s ‘Marriage Story’.
Then we have Jared Leto (‘Suicide Squad’) to complete the crazy main cast. Leto plays Paolo Gucci, the not-so-bright son of Aldo Gucci and cousin of Maurizio. Sort of like the black sheep of the family, the eccentric businessman and designer feels like he and his designs are misunderstood. This throws him into the scandals and entanglements that
we see later on in the film. Much has been said about the versatile actor’s unhinged performance in the film with one critic even accusing him of having single-handedly ruined the entire movie. But this author thinks Leto was rather entertaining as Paolo. His antics made the already watchable film more engaging. Sure, his performance was pompous and his Italian accent was hilariously stereotypical and exaggerated. But that’s what made the audiences crackle with laughter in their seats in the more intense scenes.
‘House of Gucci’ has a fairly abrupt ending which may lead some audiences to ask, “Is this it?” One would have liked to see how the characters are doing – in detail – after the climactic event that occurs towards the end. Additionally, the movie would have fared better with more in-depth writing of the character of Pina who is played by Salma Hayek
(‘Eternals’). It is still not fully explained why she went to the lengths she did just to help her friend Patrizia. The biggest criticism of the film is, perhaps, the accents of the actors. The British, American and Mexican actors are all out of their depths as they attempt to pass as Italians from Milan. But their accents, especially Gaga’s, sounds more Russian than anything else.
One also wishes to have Gaga be in more scenes as the boss woman who attempts to make real changes in the Gucci company. But one doesn’t truly get to see that.
Regardless, ‘House of Gucci’ is a fun, kitschy and soapy piece of entertainment where we get to watch actors be free to be as crazy as they wish.
‘House of Gucci’ is now playing in theatres.
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