House of Gucci - Movie Review
Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons and Salma Hayek
WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY)
House of Gucci, based on a true story, is a prestige project. Directed by one of the most respected filmmakers working today, Ridley Scott and starring a stable full of Oscar winners and nominees, everything about it says “big” or “important.” Perhaps the filmmakers associate length with quality. Nothing could be further than the truth as the film is about an hour too long. Urgency, plot, and pace fall victim to an Italian accent master class from five actors who are not Italian.
Lady Gaga, who recently won the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress brilliantly plays real life Patrizia Reggiani a single girl who thinks she has found her meal ticket in studious, sedate, nerdy Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), a member of the famed Gucci fashion family. Patrizia’s ebullient and charismatic personality brings out the alpha male in the normally docile Maurizio and he goes against the wishes of his father, Rodlofo, who thinks Patrizia is a gold digger and marries her anyway. Jeremy Irons plays Rudolfo as a dignified, snobbish presence, who looks ghastly ill from the first frame of the film. Nine-time Oscar nominee, Al Pacino plays Aldo, Rudolfo’s vivacious brother who is a 50% share holder in the company. By far the biggest performance is that of Jared Leto who plays Paolo Gucci, Aldo’s son. Now there are two man-made things you can see from space, The Great China Wall and Leto’s performance. I cannot decide if Leto’s performance is one of the bravest, wildest performances I have ever seen or if it is the worst performance I have ever seen. There is already talk of him earning both a Razzie nomination and an Oscar nomination for the same role. In any event it isn’t boring and Leto’s over the top loser clownish son provides much of the entertainment in the movie. Also skimming the top is Salma Hayek as an accented psychic who becomes both an accomplice and confidant for the jilted Patrizia later in the film.
Most people know the true story of the film, and the material may have better been served as a non-fiction novel, or dateline episode. When the outcome is known it isn’t the story that keeps our interest but the way the story is told. The colorful performances can only hold your interest so long with such protracted storytelling, where most of the conflict happens in the last fourth of the film. Furthermore, the climax offers very little satisfaction, and the writers weirdly skip over a lot of potential tension and conflict before Patrizia and her accomplishes are caught. Not to mention we are never shown how they are caught.
There are moments when the film could have been glossy, high camp, and truly funny. But it can’t decide if it is serious or funny. Except Leto, who is making it a comedy. If the film were an hour shorter, and the tone was blended better, the film might have been more successful. At two hours and thirty-eight minutes, with the story not really starting for over an hour, and an ending that you can simply google, it is a tough go, no matter how entertaining and outrageous the performances are.
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