20 April 2024

G_00282_R Lady Gaga stars as Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s HOUSE OF GUCCI A Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures film Photo credit: Fabio Lovino © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Film Review – House Of Gucci (2021)

Already built up as a strong awards contender even before it had been shown in the right circles, the anticipation around House of Gucci has been palpable, not least since that first trailer featuring a “trailerised” version of Blondie’s Heart Of Glass nestled closely underneath its striking images of wealth, deceit and oh-so-much fashion. Indeed, Lady Gaga‘s fans have been going,well, Gaga, over the singer’s return to the big screen after her sensational turn alongside Bradley Cooper in 2018’s A Star Is Born and so they might for she follows that barnstorming performance with another here, even if the role she went “method” for is a much different beast.

Staying in character and accent throughout the shoot, Gaga exudes all the cool, calm, calculated mannerisms and characteristics of Patrizia Reggiani, the young lady who married into the Gucci dynasty when she ties the knot with Maurizio (Adam Driver) despite his father Rodolfo’s (Jeremy Irons) protestations. Soon, Maurizio’s uncle Aldo (Al Pacino), the empire’s big kahuna, and his son Paolo (Jared Leto) take a shine to Patrizia and invite her to be more involved in what they do only for them to be blindsided by what transpires.

With the undercurrents bubbling under the surface perfectly as she uses her eyes and glances to convey the cogs turning in her mind, Gaga has just the right level of camp and theatrically that the rest of the film has in moments but never fully embraces. A shame given that the dramas that unfold have all the hallmarks of a long-running soap opera or that of an extraordinarily costumed pantomime, shimmering from top to bottom in Gucci. Indeed, there were times when we half expected someone to hold a chorus of “Oh yes she did/Oh no she didn’t!
Leto, as with Gaga, is on full immersion mode here, is perhaps the one member of the ensemble capable of such theatrics and while he tries, he too doesn’t quite find the right tone between dramatic and melodramatic. Driver, meanwhile, continues his incredible run of work but something feels a little off here, feeling oddly misplaced and looking for inspiration amongst the sensational suits, Italian landscapes and countless espressos. He’s always a supremely watchable performer but, like the film itself, feels strangely uneven.

Ultimately, that comes down to Scott and his writers Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna who all struggle to get a grip on just what sort of story and tone they are shooting for. Too restrained to be truly over-the-top, too safe to be truly revelatory, the film ends up being something of a muddle, flitting from one motif to another that are miles apart without ever coming together as a cohesive whole. If they had followed the mad, sheer outlandishness of its backstory then this could have soared higher than it ultimately does, coming down to the ground with a loud thud before its exhaustive runtime comes to its inevitable courtroom setting finale. The cheap knock-off analogy has been used a lot in other reviews of House of Gucci and it’s hard to argue.

★★ 1/2

Crime, Drama | UK, 2021 | 15 | 26th November 2021 (UK) | Universal Pictures | Dir.Ridley Scott | Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jared Leto, Jack Huston, Salma Hayek, Jeremy Irons, Reeve Carney

Photos – © 2021 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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