Cert – 15, Run-time – 2 hours 38 minutes, Director – Ridley Scott
The Gucci brand and dynasty experiences a decades long downfall after the turbulent marriage of initially unconcerned Maurizio (Adam Driver) to increasingly influential Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga).
House Of Gucci undeniably houses an A-list cast to match the heights of the fashion dynasty at the heart of the film they star in. While some of the accents might have been somewhat mocked and poked at – while some are somewhat clunky or non-existent they aren’t as bad or distracting as you might think – the performances are what lead the film and push it through the over two and a half hour run-time. The film and screenplay allow the performances this space and give the cast the room to go all-out during certain sequences. However, this all sometimes comes down to the feeling that the film is relying on the performances and not always allowing the story to speak for itself, or truly come across. The feeling that you’re simply watching various strands unfold instead of being in the world of the film begins to settle in and a slight distance begins to form between you and the barrier of the screen.
Tone is often a key playing factor in this feeling. As we see the early stages of a relationship between young romantics Patrizia (Lady Gaga – who gets to don plenty of lavish and stylish costumes throughout the film, no two the same) and Maurizio (Adam Driver) the tone could easily be compared to that of a soap-opera – particularly as Maurizio tries to underplay his connections to the Gucci fashion house, which he appears to have little interest in, to his very much interested family-business accountant/receptionist partner. Yet, as Patrizia becomes more of a part of her soon-to-be-husband’s life and meets the family the pair’s involvement with Gucci grows until they’re practically working against current acting and involved leader of the brand, and Maurizio’s uncle, Aldo (an exaggerative Al Pacino) and his eccentric, ambitious son Paolo (Jared Leto – who, while seemingly having a great time, appears to be in a different film to everyone else, and at times feels as if he’s about to break into a rendition of Joe Dolce’s Shaddap You Face). When sharing scenes together Pacino and Leto give the impression that they could easily be a double act in a comedy about two unsuccessful businessmen having pitches constantly rejected.
As the family, including Jeremy Irons as Maurizio’s father Rodolfo, begins to play a more prominent role in the narrative we witness a number of new strands enter into play. The idea is brought up that “actions have consequences” however it rarely feels like we actually see such consequences play out. Characters appear and disappear without the impacts of their actions and efforts properly being seen, only being described in a handful of occasions. Largely this is due to the focus on Patrizia as an outsider to Gucci who gradually manages to work her way in and take over from the side, and Gaga gives a good performance throughout, however a lot is shown that feels as if it’s sometimes left with little more detail – causing the run-time to be felt as it could be cut down slightly. Things move from soap-opera to middling drama which, while having points of interest, largely thanks to the performances, never truly grabs you.
As the marriage between the central couple begins to break down in tandem with the Gucci brand Driver takes a further step into the centre, although pushing Gaga out. Gaga very much becomes support, and at times a near different character, in these stages, rarely seen, much like the rest of the cast, as Driver’s character development moves in swiftly in the final 35-40 minutes. It feels the simplest way to depict the drama set up beforehand and bring certain elements and lines within the narrative to a close. While not everything is brought to this point with quite the same effect there’s an overall rounded nature to the film, even if it doesn’t completely have the impact it might hope for. It matches the nature that the piece has had throughout. One which never quite demonstrates the effect and impact of its various character’s actions. The points of interest that do truly click and work are perhaps made more so by the performances which the film relies on, and luckily they’re mostly rather good.
House Of Gucci’s run-time is felt because of the multiple strands that it starts and doesn’t always demonstrate the full extent of. Luckily, the performances – even if not always in the same film – manage to pull things along and keep you mostly interested in the unravelling arcs.