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House of Gucci film review


Directed by: #RidleyScott

Film review by: Brian Penn

House of Gucci (2021)

The old argument of style over substance springs to mind when watching this latest effort from the erratic genius of director Ridley Scott. House of Gucci is a sumptuous study of family dynamics and the pursuit of glamour in an often grey world. That it was based on true events is extraordinary as it feels more like a storyline from 80s soap opera Dynasty.

It tells the story of Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), a girl who marries into the Gucci fashion company. She fixates on Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) who soon falls for her charms, much to the annoyance of his father Rodolpho (Jeremy Irons). However, she finds an ally in Uncle Aldo (Al Pacino) who welcomes her with open arms. Patrizia quickly assimilates and takes a keen interest in the family business. The game changer arrives when Rodolpho dies and passes his shares in the company to Maurizio. A battle for control ensues with Aldo and duplicitous son Paolo (Jared Leto). Patrizia begins to scheme and manipulate as the Gucci family grows more dysfunctional. She enlists the help of mystic Pina (Selma Hayek) who sees truth in the cards.

House of Gucci is an entertaining romp but suffers because their story is so well documented. Subsequently there are elements of the Titanic syndrome with no real surprises to be had. The majestic beauty of Lake Como and mountains of Gressoney-Saint-Jean are perfectly captured, and a banging soundtrack of 70s and 80s tunes keeps the narrative ticking over. But niggles remain as ragbag performances drag the film down.

Al Pacino delivers an overcooked turn as Aldo and strays into Michael Corleone territory ('come to New York and join the family'). Similarly Jared Leto as Paolo turns the camp-o-meter up to 11 for no apparent reason. Other cast members offer functional support but leave the way open for the female lead. Lady Gaga is hugely charismatic and has a remarkable on screen presence. There is more than a hint of Sophia Loren as pure physicality takes over. With every film she makes her recording career seems less important. To say Lady Gaga is the best thing about this film may be seen as an indictment to some, but she carries it with relative ease. Is that not the true definition of star quality?


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