Scott’s work is an odd beast of melodramatic excesses—a largely lumbering biopic yet cold and campy enough to just about work as an unintended ‘tragicomedy’.
Cast: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto, Jack Huston, Salma Hayek
Plot: 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 downwards.
Awards: Nom. for Best Leading Actress – Drama (Golden Globes)
Distributor: United International Pictures
Subject Matter: Moderate – Family; Betrayal; Legacy
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Pace: Slightly Slow
Audience Type: Slightly Mainstream
Viewed: In Theatres (Shaw Waterway)
Like Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Ridley Scott also released two films this year in House of Gucci and the more invigorating The Last Duel. Despite mixed reviews, House of Gucci is still a mildly enjoyable biopic if you can forgive some of its glaring flaws, which if reframed, might just feel alright.
Running twenty minutes shy of three hours, Gucci is perhaps way too long and part of the problem is its pacing. It’s a lumbering giant of a film, though I still think it’s compelling enough to last the course.
Part of the reason is Lady Gaga’s eye-catching performance as Patrizia Reggiani, who marries into the Gucci family through Maurizio (Adam Driver). The star-studded cast is completed by Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto and Salma Hayek.
“It was a name that sounded so sweet…”
I would like to mention Jared Leto specifically, who plays Paolo Gucci, Maurizio’s older cousin—his over-the-top display is one of those so-bad-it’s-good varieties that it turns the film from an excessively melodramatic one to an unintended ‘tragicomedy’.
Maybe seeing it as a tragicomedy rather than a serious biopic could be the way to reframe Scott’s work—it’s cold and campy enough to just about work. Themes of greed, extravagance, jealousy and betrayal are explored as Gucci’s dark, sensational family history is given the film treatment.
As someone who has no idea how the story would unfold, Gucci works as a sleek history lesson; for those who are familiar, Scott’s film will feel more like a by-the-numbers account.