House of Gucci film review: A plodding, pointless movie from Ridley Scott

It’s difficult to count the ways in which this film is undeserving of your time

Lady Gaga stars as Patrizia Reggiani and Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci in film House of Gucci. Photograph: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

Film Title: House of Gucci

Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, Jeremy Irons, Salma Hayek, Al Pacino

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 159 min

Wed, Nov 24, 2021, 05:00

   

The murder of the Gucci scion Maurizio Gucci in 1995 and the sensational trial of his ex-wife Patrizia Reggiani has spawned many headlines and salacious books, including Sara Gay Harden’s The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed. It’s the source material for this bizarrely plodding, pointless new film from Ridley Scott.

The Gucci family are said to be taking legal advice. Legal advice? The accents alone would justify a major diplomatic incident.

Never mind the alleged inaccuracies in Haden’s book: if it isn’t a crime to waste Adam Driver in the manner that he is squandered here, then it ought to be. Ditto Jeremy Irons. Ditto the entire ensemble.

Driver, in particular, puts up a good fight against poor material for almost an hour, but nobody can save this apparently rudderless ship.

This is a grisly carnival of poorly executed and just bad ideas. It’s difficult to count the ways in which House of Gucci is undeserving of your time. The cosplay versions of Anna Wintour, André Leon Talley and other fashion folks! The prescriptive, entirely anachronistic musical cues!

The decision to use an “Ah shaddap-a you face!” dialect – replete with hand gestures that recall a cormorant mating ritual – is foolish; the indifferent, conveniently forgotten delivery of said variously-accented dialogue adds further layers of confusion to a set where, evidently, everyone is acting in a different movie.

Thus, Jared Leto’s pantomime turn makes for unpleasant frottage against Al Pacino’s Big Al flamboyance and Jack Huston’s earnestness. There is accordingly, no chemistry – sexual or otherwise – between anyone on screen. Indeed, the film cannot come up with a single reason – bar the casting of two attractive people – why Maurizio Gucci fell for the gold-digging Patrizia. Their divorce equally requires a sudden, inexplicable personality change.

Dialogue that should at least have camp or unintentional comic value, lands with a splat. Even Salma Hayek’s cat lady psychic isn’t as much fun as that sounds.

Pity Lady Gaga. She stayed in character for 18 months (!) ahead of this grim enterprise. But which character? The terrible, wholly inconsistent script – written by Prince of Tides veteran Becky Johnston and Roberto Bentivegna – can’t decide if Patrizia is Lady Macbeth, a First Wives Club reject, or a cartoon character. The performer, consequently, is left stranded between these possibilities.

Ridley Scott can put on a show, as this production’s many ski-and-knitwear themed memes have demonstrated. But he’s never been feted as an actor’s director. It’s hard to imagine another filmmaker rinsing out the soapish excess of a line such as: “Perhaps Maurizia will be interested in your strudel”, as Lady Gaga sneers at her dull love rival (Camille Cottin).

As the implausible romance gives way to boardroom shenanigans, House of Gucci grinds to a dramatic halt with still more than an hour of run time to go. There’s nothing luxe about the shoddy stitching and sackcloth.