House of Gucci is as Italian as a pizza bagel and he knows it: review
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The pitch: On March 27, 1995, Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), then boss of the luxury fashion brand Gucci, was shot dead on the steps of his Milan office. Two years later, his ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), and his accomplices were sentenced to prison terms, most of them over twenty-five years in prison. But how did we get there? How did a woman who found herself at the top of the fashion world turn into a black widow? Ridley scott‘s Gucci House wants to answer these questions, with all the brilliance and style to which the name Gucci is accustomed.
We go back to the early ’70s, where a young Patrizia meets and charms delivery boy Maurizio, who wants nothing to do with the Gucci dynasty, given his strained relationship with his ailing father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons). While ready to give up the fortune and live like a poor nobleman, Patrizia wants more for herself; she’ll find ways to pull string after string with Maurizio and his family members, including Uncle Aldo (Al Pacino) and cousin Paolo (Jared Leto), to get it. It’s a story of rags to rags and backs, filtered through the Italian furs, blazers and leather of 1970s European pop culture, with a healthy dose of Dynasty thrown in.
Money (that’s what I want): Watching Gucci House (Ridley Scott’s second film was released this year, after the superlative The last duel), you remember Scott’s 2017 thriller All the money in the world. Look beyond the behind-the-scenes story of Kevin Spacey replaced by Christopher Plummer (and the latter gets an Oscar name as a result), and you get yet another tale based on a true story of the intersection of wealth, inheritance and crime. The Gettys and the Guccis are both dynasties, threatened with collapse by the whims of its greediest members, and threatened by the entry of a fiery and independent woman they don’t know what to do with.
But where Money kept it largely serious, letting its dark, comedic cracks creep in piecemeal, Gucci relies much more on its own self-proclaimed silliness. The word “camp” may be misapplied here, but Scott and writers Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna (from Sara Gay Forden’s 2001 book The House of Gucci: a sensational story of murder, madness, glamor and Greed) are certainly tuned in to the larger-than-life characters at the center of this opulent drama.
Darius Wolski’s cinematography lingers on every thread of Janty Yates’ flashy, retro-elegant costumes, which range from figure-hugging silk dresses to puffy ski outfits; each performer blurts out their lines in their best guess with an Italian accent, which ranges from Boris and Natasha (Gaga) to Count Dracula (Driver). Gaga and her accomplice (an all too familiar fortune teller played by Salma Hayek) plot while taking mud baths. A character opens his mouth in a cry of anguish, only for the sound of a car horn to come out, ushering us into the next scene. It’s bow choices like this that make Gucci House so much fun in spurts.
Gucci House (MGM)
Don’t confuse shit with chocolate: The problem, then, comes with all the little moments in between, with Scott remembering that he still has a story to tell among the lonely bits of outdoor fun that he has fun with the extravagance of his fashion world. luxury. When Gucci sobered up (which is early and often during its long two-and-a-half-hour duration) it becomes a chore, having little to say about this fickle tale of bickering fashion moguls. You can feel the trends pass over time, with Gucci becoming synonymous with cheap handbags before starting its recovery in the mid-90s with the arrival of Tom Ford (Reeve Carney), who has the potential to be interesting. .
But it seems somewhat out of touch with Patrizia’s own machinations, especially in this final act, when Maurizio gets wise with her and Gaga spends entire swathes of the film on the outskirts. The tone bounces between David Fincher and Ryan Murphy without much balance, which keeps Gucci to hold as a coherent whole.
A cast of little monsters: Still, it’s hard to deny that the cast are having fun, and whether their performances are good or bad, they are certainly unique. Gucci is unmistakably Gaga’s show through and through, with the kind of performance both intended to showcase her talent and demonstrate her cultural supremacy as the next heir to Barbra Streisand or Elizabeth Taylor. From scene to scene, she certainly channels them both, modulating between each according to the emotional mode or stage of Patrizia’s life that she wishes to explore.
Patrizia is a master manipulator, the Lady Macbeth of this diamond-studded drama, using honey one minute and vinegar the next. This leaves many chances for Go Big, and Gaga certainly takes them, especially as her marriage to Maurizio begins to fall apart and he begins to pull away from her, leaving her defensive and unloved. In the words of Glenn Close, she will not be ignored. The wobbly accent is almost a virtue, really; it makes her frivolous on one angle, unpredictable on the next as she frowns or screams at the top of her lungs. Just as you try (and fail) to guess how she will say her next word, you have no idea what Patrizia will do next, even though the script telegraphs her a mile and a half away.
The pilot, on the other hand, feels a bit lost at sea, his sweet and serious Maurizio grappling with the unfortunate task of buckling where Patrizia explodes with energy. He’s most powerful in the last act, where he finally becomes the power-hungry monster he’s been trying to run away from all his life, but he pales in comparison to the rest of the cast. Pacino, in particular, whose needle Aldo threads best between the two films Gucci tries to be – a successful man whose knowledge of the business makes him too dangerous for Patrizia to keep.
Gucci House (MGM)
On the other end of the spectrum is Leto, giving the performance of many lifetimes as the family’s goofy Fredo, the portly Paolo. “A triumph of mediocrity,” Rodolfo calls it, and he’s right: with his crown of shaggy gray hair and drooping face (Leto’s chiseled idol face hidden under tons of weird prosthetics), Paolo weeps and makes its way through the film in a focus that looks like Super Mario making a Borat print on helium.
It’s a perfectly calibrated Bad Performance, the kind you can’t take your eyes off of; it’s the sad clown who represents the inbred rot at the center of Gucci, the most easily identifiable mange that Fabrizia will go looking for to find the family’s weaknesses. Because as disconcerting as Leto’s performance is, I wanted a little Gucci to have that evil energy throughout the process. As it is, he feels fallen from another dimension, more fun.
The verdict: It’s tempting to try to yassssss and Z-snap your way through Gucci House, given the meme-ific marketing campaign surrounding Gaga’s involvement and the innate spectacle of her camp aspirations. (Gaga cross and the purr “Father, son, Maison Gucci” will certainly be a queer slogan for quite a while.) But what’s frustrating about Scott’s movie is how his bloated runtime swings between two. fashions that mix like oil and water. There’s the layered meditation on power and money that corrupt everything, even love, and there’s OTT pastiche Ryan Murphy turning his porn style and goofy characters up to eleven. But the two will never meet.
By all means, watch him for Gaga doing The Most, or Leto pulling off the most breathtaking performance of the year with every falsetto accent of his voice. But be prepared for Gucci trying in vain to stabilize the ship and take the consuming power of greed seriously, and yawn when those moments seem too long. Believe me i wish Gucci House had a greater share of death stares from Lady Gaga and sharp sips of espresso.
Where does it play? Gucci House serves a nice thick slice of Italian ham (prosciutto?) in theaters for Thanksgiving on November 24th.