Review: House of Gucci

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Title: House of Gucci
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Salma Hayek, Reeve Carney
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 2 hr 38 mins

What Is Is: When Patrizia Reggiani (Gaga), an outsider from humble beginnings, marries the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel their legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately…murder.

What We Think: Ridley Scott brings us a biopic that is entertaining, yet a bit muddled in some areas – leaning a bit more towards the cinematic spectacle side of things rather than being more grounded. Which is nothing to be ashamed of. House of Gucci is as attractive and eye-catching as the wardrobe its characters wear – yet those enticing visuals are covering up a story that feels like one of those pale white mannequins you see at a fashion outlet.

The film still has really great aspects. For one, the performances are fantastic – Adam Driver and Lady Gaga work incredibly well off one another onscreen; with Gaga being ruthless, sexy, and wicked smart, alongside Driver being charming, subtle, and imposing. Both of their characters go through interesting arcs that conclude in a manner that mirrors their starting points in the film (for Driver’s case it’s most noticeable), so it’s safe to say that they are both integral and compelling elements to the cast – can’t see anyone else for their roles. The supporting cast does amazingly well too, with Jared Leto and Al Pacino, in particular, stealing the scenes they’re in, regardless if they’re in the middle of the room or off to the side – from raging outbursts (you can probably guess who does those) to hilarious exchanges. Needless to say, if you’re going to see this film because of the cast, you won’t be disappointed with anyone.

Another reason to go check House of Gucci out would be the art direction. Obviously, the wardrobe already looks stunning (Gaga is ravishing once she starts rolling into those Gucci dresses), which is a given considering the film’s subject matter and title. But it’s not the best quality – the set design and locations are phenomenal. All of the international locations feel so real and lived in, with details such as snow collecting on a window or morning haze drifting outside being ever so… cozy! Yet unfortunately, a certain scene in New York was painfully done against a green screen. I should also mention that the cinematography compliments these aspects quite well, it’s nothing spectacular, but it gets the job done in terms of colorful presentation.

In regards to the complete presentation, the editing is a bit odd at times and there is also a very unintentionally comedic cut that occurs early one – when a character says a line and two seconds later we see them lying in a coffin. With a runtime of over 2 and a half hours, it’s interesting to see where the filmmakers decide to cut, and most of the time it’s in an awkward fashion or out of place. Speaking of the runtime, it is indeed a bit too long – certain sequences ran for much longer, and I found myself wanting them to end instead of wanting to see what would come next. By the final act, I was still satisfied – just a tad exhausted. However, the attractive visual appeal of the film makes up for that lost time. Story-wise, it’s really just another biopic, one that Ridley Scott knows he could do in his sleep.

Our Grade: BStylishly consistent and drop-dead gorgeous, House of Gucci is a fun time – but it also mixes and matches its great visuals and incredible performances with slow pacing and tiring sequences. The core aspect of the film really comes down to knowing the power of its presentation, but not of its narrative – like the wrong model for a fashion line.

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