House of Gucci

House of Gucci ★★

"I don't consider myself to be a particularly ethical person but I am fair."

Oscar bait that goes from being slightly genuinely (and unintentionally) funny to crushingly dull. The real-life story revolving around the Gucci family and how their feuds involving betrayal, greed, power and business culminate to tragedy where everyone loses is immensely interesting. To see House of Gucci's treatment of its themes and presentation being oddly disengaging makes it one of the strongest disappointments of 2021.

It's plagued with an uncertainty of what film it wants to be. Dazzling camp with fashion runway sequences of gorgeous costume designs and odd song choices? A serious, intense crime melodrama where business and fashion mostly take precedence over familial and relationship ties? A critique of the corruption and upper-class nature of the fashion industry? Ridley Scott's vision is too messy to stick to a consistent tone, and while he remains a compelling filmmaker, House of Gucci just wasn't the suitable material for him. The screenplay rushes through essential plot events, character developments and details with little nuance, making 158 minutes too short yet remaining so poorly paced that the runtime feels like 8+ painful hours. Just when a shocking crucial event seems to be setting up the third act, the aftermath almost immediately turns to an afterthought through an abrupt conclusion and uninspired closing intertitles.

As gorgeous as House of Gucci gets with its costumes, production values, and set designs that feel authentic to the narrative, the digital photography and filters don't help. The song choices aren't anachronistic yet still feel distracting and jarringly edited in. The performances are a mixed bag, ranging from mostly impressive to sometimes unbelievably misguided. Lady Gaga does capture the personality, attitude and accent of Patrizia Reggiani, intensely embodying the role and selling the hell out of her performance. As veteran actors, Jeremy Irons and Al Pacino do fine jobs, and Adam Driver's performance is appropriately refrained compared to how bonkers the cast is. But Jared Leto's performance is on another wavelength, delving into bewildering craziness and sounding almost like Mario, before delivering most of his lines with humorous bite. Leto can certainly act but remains so over-the-top that he seems to be in a different movie. That movie sounds far more entertaining, campier and interesting, and it's a shame that it isn't House of Gucci.

What seems to be its strengths are also its flaws. House of Gucci has its fair share of entertaining moments and a few laughs, so I can't entirely dismiss the final cut, but most of it is still filled with boredom that, unfortunately, becomes suffocating. It has a first hour that turns out fine, only for the genre and storytelling potential to be dramatically wasted, and the viewing experience just becomes sad, but not as intended. I thought Ridley Scott got his groove back with The Last Duel, only for House of Gucci to make me rethink that. But it turns out this is typical of Ridley Scott's works, continuing the inconsistent pattern of delivering great films and duds as the cycle repeats. At least Scott hasn't lost all of his filmmaking talents.

🎃🏳️‍🌈 Nicholas (Nic) 🏳️‍🌈🎃 liked these reviews

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