House of Gucci is a 2021 American biographical crime drama film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the 2001 book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed by Sara Gay Forden. The story revolves around the shocking true story of the Gucci family feud that costs them the control of their prestigious fashion business.
When Patrizia Reggiani, an outsider from humble beginnings, marries into the Gucci family, her unbridled ambition begins to unravel their legacy and triggers a reckless spiral of betrayal, decadence, revenge, and ultimately…murder. This forms the basic premise of House of Gucci and while that in itself seems like a plot rich in twists and turns, drama, intrigue and tension, the film somehow manages to lose its way after a promising first half.
That first half tells the story of the romance between Patrizia (Lady Gaga) and Maurizio Gucci, the scion of Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), who with brother Aldo (Al Pacino) founded the famed brand. Maurizio is portrayed as a mousey character, studying to be a lawyer while the ambitious Patrizia seduces Maurizio, with designs on the fashion house. The opening half of House of Gucci has a very light tone, more akin to a comedy than a serious drama.
However, there appears to be a time jump where the couple’s relationship changes significantly and Maurizio’s personality becomes unrecognisable. Painted into a corner and marginalised by Maurizio, Patrizia gets desperate and begins to hatch diabolical plans for vengeance on Maurizio. The tone shifts are frankly very jarring and it almost seems like we are watching two different movies. The quick pacing of third act does not help either.
The actors handle the transitions well despite the narrative difficulties, especially Lady Gaga who once again – like in A Star is Born – demonstrates her acting chops. Driver is no slouch in this department either and the couple complement each other well. Another performance highlight is Jared Leto, who is virtually unrecognisable as Paolo Gucci, the buffoon son of Aldo.
House of Gucci is an enjoyable film to watch, at least for the first half and mainly for the performances, before it completely descends into darkness and death.
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