“Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind.” – Ayn Rand
Turning 84 years-old at the end of November 2021, Ridley Scott is churning out movies at a rate more than most filmmakers half his age. Just last month The Last Duel was released and criminally underseen. People did what they always do and pretended they knew exactly what the movie was going to be before ever giving it a fair shake. Now, House of Gucci is being released. While it still possesses its merits it is without question the lesser of the two, between it and Duel. But of course everyone will see it because “It has Lady Gaga in it! OMG!” (If you heard a noise just now it was my eyes rolling into the back of my head.) Don’t misunderstand, she is a definite highlight of this film and should be experienced at least once if only to see her strong performance. But you should have done the same for The Last Duel too but I digress.
So much of this story has entertaining qualities and under the direction of Scott, House of Gucci should work better than it does. Lady Gaga demonstrated in A Star is Born and American Horror Story that she is more than capable in front of the camera. Adam Driver at her side should have elevated the material into awards territory. The cinematography is gorgeous as are all of Scott’s projects but none of these attributes lift this sinking ship long enough for those on board to escape safely to shore. By no means is this a terrible film, I quite enjoyed a majority of the film but the questions arise: Would I ever watch it again? Would I recommend it to anyone I know? No and not likely. But I just said it should be seen for her performance? If you can appreciate parts of a film, the performances, the cinematography, even just the dialogue then yes maybe give this a chance. If you are the average moviegoer and want the complete experience of a good movie and not the cherry picking that I’m doing right now then I can’t suggest this film whatsoever.
If you know the true story of the Guccis then you know what is likely to come by the end credits. Some excitement hopefully. Not really. While the promise of murder is fulfilled it’s done so with as little enthusiasm as possible. I’m sure if I mentioned this to Scott he would bring up the maintaining of accuracy to the real life story. While I can appreciate that, after a two and a half hour movie is nearly complete we arrive at thee moment and it passes quicker than a fart in the night and with the same amount of impact. Not even the payoff is worth the time you just spent watching these lesser versions of the Logan family in Succession trying to stay relevant as the dust wafts off their outdated attire.
Lady Gaga’s real life character, Patrizia Reggiani is a deplorable human being. She has zero likeable character traits. She is, from the very beginning, irredeemable. The most alluring aspect to her character is the performance of Gaga. But she is certainly nothing to attach yourself to. I think the most brilliant part of Gaga’s performance is the complete lack of hiding any desire this woman had to control not only the money but the very legacy of Gucci itself. She is the walking definition of both gold digger and home wrecker.
One thing I must mention about her performance is a single moment that I noticed immediately and found to be a glimpse of true genius acting on her part. When she first meets Driver’s character she holds out her hand and says her name. He reciprocates and says his name, Maurizio Gucci. In a blink-and-you-miss-it moment, she hears his last name and her eyes widen a bit. It is clear instantly what her motives are and when you see it on her face, it’s an applause worthy moment. It is such a miniscule thing but her nuanced performance makes it one of my favorite scenes of the movie.
Okay so if she is hopeless what about Driver’s character, Maurizio Gucci? In the beginning he is a humble, lovely human being. He seems genuinely unphased by the immensity of the Gucci name. He rides a bicycle, he studies to become a lawyer and bashfully stands to the side of a dance floor for fear of looking silly. He is an introvert by all accounts. When he meets Reggiani he sees the love of his life. He sees something more than his self-involved family and all their bickering. Unfortunately for him and us, when she gets her hooks in him he becomes exactly what she already was, lustful for power and money. His likeable qualities seem to disappear overnight leaving nothing but another faceless, heartless member of the Gucci family. When it comes to the characters, there is nothing to like here. They embody everything we despise in the horrendously wealthy. Maybe that’s the point I don’t know. What I do know is by the end credits everyone is either dead or imprisoned and it didn’t matter in the slightest.
House of Gucci isn’t as hopeless as its characters but it’s not exactly ready to run a marathon either. With so much talent in front of and behind the camera, Gucci has things about it to admire. At a runtime of 2 hours and 37 minutes however, those pretty visuals and few strong performances simply aren’t enough to justify the time given to this story and these characters. I felt nothing for these people and the allure of their performances wore off after the first hour. See the film if you truly love cinema and admire Scott’s work but beyond the few things I’ve mentioned don’t be on the lookout for anything more. Hey you know what else Adam Driver is in this year and is also directed by Scott? The Last Duel. See that instead.
Rated R For: language, some sexual content, and brief nudity and violence
Runtime: 157 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Crime, Drama, Thriller
Starring: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jared Leto
Directed By: Ridley Scott
Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 6.5/ Acting: 8.5/ Directing: 7/ Visuals: 7
OVERALL: 6 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: No.
Check out the trailer below:
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