Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) is tired of living poor. He worked in the family business and his life was as boring as the whistling from his father’s employees. His skill at forging his father’s signature by convincing is only one foreshadowing what he will do later. Reggiani knew that his life would change. That night, at a party he doesn’t even know who made it, he meets a man who sets his ambitions on fire. There’s nothing special about this man. His temperament is soft and a bit stiff. But the last name gives meaning. The man’s name is Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver).
It didn’t take long for Reggiani to pounce on Maurizio. He seeks her out, makes her fall in love and succeeds. Maurizio even left his house after being kicked out by his father, Rodolfo Guci (Jeremy Irons), who accused Reggiani of being just a matre girl. At first glance Reggiani looks really in love with Maurizio. Simple life, doing laundry together and falling in love. But then one call from Maurizio’s uncle, Aldo Gucci (Al Pacino), changed everything.
While Rodolfo was in charge of design, Aldo was in charge of all business-related matters at Gucci. He does it alone because his son, Paolo Gucci (Jared Leto), is the “most mediocre of all mediocre people”. Like an eagle, Reggiani began to carry out his plan. Slowly and steadily she approached Aldo and reassured his new uncle that he and his husband were more than competent to take care of Gucci. This is all just the beginning of a dark and bloody tragedy.
Written by Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna from a book by Sara Gay Forden, House of Gucci is a rather grueling biopic. With a duration of three hours (158 minutes), this film doesn’t seem to know the tone it’s stretching. Is this black comedy? Is this a soap opera? Or is this a serious biopic?.
One of the pleasures of watching this kind of film is when the audience is invited to enter into the psyche of the main characters so that we can clearly see what reasons are going through their heads when they do unscrupulous acts. The audience may not be able to forgive their depraved behavior but at least we are given the opportunity to empathize. In House of Gucci, all the psychological features of the characters are absent.
We never know for sure why Patrizia suddenly turned into a comfortable wife to a wife who is tired of being poor and longing for a luxurious life. We never know why Maurizio suddenly doesn’t love his wife anymore. We are given suggestions but the audience is never really invited to look into them. This is very disappointing considering the long duration it should take for this.
Despite the weak script, Ridley Scott as director never let this film go to waste. He knows he has a line-up that is more than entertaining. And herein lies the main strength of the House of Gucci. Of all the players, Adam Driver and Jeremy Irons didn’t do much because their characters were the most “normal”. But the rest? They all have fun.
While Al Pacino shrieked as usual with an Italian accent that came and went, Jared Leto took this opportunity to become a caricature of a caricature that really stole the show. Was Leto’s acting good or too much? You judge. But what is clear, whenever there is Paolo on screen, the House of Gucci is never boring.
Then there’s Lady Gaga. After A Star Is Born, the world has finally recognized that this superstar is more than just a singer who goes to awards shows in dresses made of flesh. He is a serious actor. And in the House of Gucci he proves it once again. What makes him so classy is how he acts. Lady Gaga seemed to be the only actor on the set of House of Gucci who knew the film was “not that serious”. Her Italian accent may sound strange but Lady Gaga’s demeanor always hits the spot. Even if the script doesn’t succeed in getting the audience to look into her psyche, at least Lady Gaga can convey all the ambition, anger and jealousy in her eyes.
Lady Gaga’s acting in House of Gucci is indeed much more over-the-top than A Star Is Born but isn’t the material itself equally over-the-top? With a line of songs that are very targeted, House of Gucci could actually be the most exciting biopic of the year if only the editing was neater and the script was more solid. But for entertainment, the House of Gucci is still a very pleasant spectacle. When else do we get the chance to watch bloodshed, the story of the struggle for wealth and throne, played by Hollywood actors with excessive taste? And for that, I thank Ridley Scott.