Lindsay Bar | Associated Press
In the “House of Gucci” everything is on top. Accents. Performances. Fashion. Settings. Lead time. Music. Greed. This movie knows exactly what it is, and honey, it’s superbly decadent, ridiculous fun.
There is an alternate universe in which House of Gucci is a subtle Italian film. Perhaps this is a more direct tragedy. It may even be a limited series taking the viewer back to the roots of the Italian luxury label in 1921. But director Ridley Scott and screenwriters Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna chose the path of operatic artificiality. You are not playing Jared Leto as the clown-type Fredo, and you are not forcing him to act against his father, played by Al Pacino, by accident. It’s big.
Based on the book by Sarah Gay Forden, House of Gucci chronicles the fall of the Gucci dynasty. Their dominance over the leather goods and fashion house of the same name lasted only three generations. But, as any new financial family knows, by the time the third generation comes to power, usually no one is left to remember the time when there was no extraordinary wealth and privileges.
And here we continue to work with the Gucci family, whose business is run by the sons of the founder Guccio Gucci Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons) and Aldo (Pacino). Scott’s film embellishes the other second generation siblings, in part to simplify an already vast story, but mostly to reinforce father and son themes. Aldo’s son is Paolo (Leto), a megalomaniac fool with little talent to prove it. Rodolfo’s son, Maurizio (Adam Driver), is smart but would rather study law than participate in the family business.
However, our entrance to this world is an outsider: Patricia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), a local bomb and party girl who accidentally met Maurizio. Her eyes light up with manic determination when she hears that his last name is Gucci, and makes it her mission to become a part of his life. It might sound sinister, especially if you know how it all ends, but it’s actually pretty cute at first. The beginning of their odyssey is reminiscent of a hilarious romantic comedy in which Patricia plays a gentle huntress for Driver’s quiet and shy prey. Both are happy and in love, and they stay together even after Rodolfo suspends his son for choosing to marry someone below his position. And it is true, Patricia may not have much education or culture and mistaken Klimt for Picasso, but she also knows how to communicate with people and, as we will find out, is a born Machiavellian.
After a short honeymoon period where Maurizio plays the poor guy and works for his family’s trucking company, the opportunity returns when Aldo invites the newlyweds to his birthday party. Maurizio emerges from the luxurious process even more convinced that life is simple for him, but Patricia is not going to let this precious window evaporate. And soon they are both at heart.
But it’s not just that a reluctant heir and his ambitious wife are pushing him towards his destiny. This film punches a hole in the very concept of mass luxury and its central art. At the time, before Dom and Tom came to power, Gucci was in a bit of a crisis: Rodolfo may have treasured expansion too much, Aldo was too obsessed with profit and expansion, and the “brand” was in danger of devaluation. with fakes and oversaturation. These cracks in the cladding help Patricia and Maurizio fight for power until he decides he’d rather go on his own. At this point, it really is the beginning of the end.
The House of Gucci is a fascinating and insane story that grows ever more incredible. It was a big glamor mess, and it deserves a big, glamor messy movie, right down to the performances and accents. But if the idea of watching Leto and Pacino chew the landscape together sounds unappealing, this movie might not be for you. Everybody goes all-in here.
And despite all the absurdity, it’s stupidly watchable. If you don’t know or don’t remember the details of what happened, save your search for later. Simply put on your most striking designer logo, order a martini at the bar and dive into the light pleasures of the House of Gucci.
2 1/2 stars out of 4
Rating: R (for some sexual content, profanity, brief nudity, and violence)
Duration: 157 minutes