HOUSE OF GUCCI
(director: Ridley Scott; screenwriters: Becky Johnston, Roberto Bentivegna, based on the book The House Of Gucci: A Sensational Story Of Murder, Madness, Glamour, And Greed by Sara Gay Forden; cinematographer: Dariusz Wolski; editor: Claire Simpson; music: Harry Gregson-Williams; cast: Lady Gaga (Patrizia Reggiani), Adam Driver (Maurizio Gucci), Jared Leto (Paolo Gucci), Jeremy Irons (Rodolfo Gucci), Reeve Carney (Tom Ford), Jack Huston (Domenico De Sole), Salma Hayek (Pina Auriemma), Al Pacino (Aldo Gucci), Sophia Loren (Mãdãlina Ghenea), Camille Cottin (Paola Franchi); Runtime: 157; MPAA Rating: R; producers; Ridley Scott, Giannina Facio, Kevin J. Walsh, Mark Huffam: United Artists Releasing; 2021)
“Shallow and diverting crime drama telling of the Gucci family brutal murder in 1995 of Maurizio Gucci.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Celebrated Brit filmmaker Ridley Scott (“Alien”/”The Last Duel”) directs this much ballyhooed blockbuster without much style and with the usual Hollywood tendency to keep the biopic made by the numbers. It’s a shallow and diverting crime drama telling of the Gucci family brutal murder in 1995 of Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver), the 46-year-old grandson of the Gucci company founder, Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), that was ordered as a hit by his ambitious wife.
The true story is lifted from the world headlines at the time and should have been an exciting thriller since besides the murder it’s a story of intrigue, decadence, Shakespearean-like ambition, revenge and financial skulduggery. But it’s miscast (all the actors, even if talented, are either American or British—Adam Driver, Lady Gaga, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto, and Jack Huston— which seems not right for such a substantial Italian film), the acting is hammy and it’s written with poor character development by Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna. It gets only at the facts and not its strangeness or does it really explain why the murder happened. It’s based on the book The House Of Gucci: A Sensational Story Of Murder, Madness, Glamour, And Greed by Sara Gay Forden.
Even though the murder was a shocker that rocked the Italian fashion empire, the film fails to register much more than as a lot of buffoonery and not as an epic classic as intended.
With unbridled ambition, and overly confident, Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), an outsider, with humble origins (she’s the office manager at her father’s Milan trucking company), marries into the Gucci family and eventually has her self-effacing, low-key lawyer husband, Maurizio, killed in a badly pulled off hit job. They fell in love after meeting cute in a disco bar in Rome and quickly in 1972 get hitched, which causes his pissed-off father, Rodolfo, to threaten to cut him off from the will for marrying the gold-digger. As a result, he did not attend the wedding and their relationship was never the same.
Uncle Aldo (Al Pacino), whose son Paolo (Jared Leto), wearing a wig, covered with too much makeup and talking with an offensive Italian accent, is a disappointment (whom dad considers an idiot without taste– a wearer of unfashionable pastel colored corduroy suits), accepts the couple for his own duplicitous reasons (getting Maurizio to rejoin the Gucci firm and wanting Patrizia to influence her husband to become his Gucci business partner after his father’s death). At the time Paolo is the businessman designer and heir to the family’s world-famous fashion brand.
The plans between Uncle Aldo to merge with Patrizia are killed when Maurizio gets a divorce in 1994, and the story then takes its deadly turn a year later.
Things become especially absurd over a relationship that develops between Patrizia and the TV fortune-teller (Salma Hayek) she employs, who helps plan the hit. Maybe if the story followed this kind of camp track it would have been more entertaining.
The talented filmmaker, the acclaimed actors and the writers can never put their finger on the nutty pulse of this quirky Gucci family drama, and when it tries to tell the story behind the real-life murder it doesn’t have the conviction to do so.
REVIEWED ON 11/23/2021 GRADE: C+