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HOUSE OF GUCCI (2021, USA) movie review, plot

I liked Ridley Scott’s grotesque crime drama about the Italian fashion dynasty and more than I expected after the mostly negative reviews that “House of Gucci” flooded right after it appeared. It’s definitely an incredibly entertaining film that at the same time strives to be a serious crime drama, but it’s a film that’s very hard to take seriously. Intentionally or not, it all seemed to me from beginning to end as a bizarre, kitschy parody, a tragicomedy about shamelessly rich, arrogant and greedy people who literally destroyed themselves with their own stupidity, arrogance and extravagance. The story begins in 1978 in Milan when the then young heir of the Gucci dynasty, Maurizio (Adam Driver), meets the simple golddiger Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga).

HOUSE OF GUCCI Movie Review, plot

The Gucci family was already fabulously rich and synonymous with luxury in the fashion world, and the brand, launched by Guccio Gucci in Florence in the early 1920s, is now run by brothers Aldo (Al Pacino) and Maurizio’s father Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons). It is clear to us from the beginning that these people are full of money, and Patrizia is also aware of this, as she will very easily seduce the somewhat twisted and withdrawn Maurizio, and they will marry to the horror of his father. It is clear to the wise Rodolfo from the beginning what kind of person this is, and his prophecy that she will destroy the family will indeed come true. And how!

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I had the impression that the actors had a great time working on this film and the moments when Al Pacino appears as a character in which he almost parodies his iconic character Michael Corleone’s Godfather or the unrecognizable Jared Leto as his stupid but sickly ambitious son Paolo are really hilarious. I don’t know if the situation got completely out of control or Scott really imagined it all that way, but it’s as if everyone is in their own movie and all the characters are really caricatures. Pacino and Leto fuck superbly, Irons is traditionally deadly serious as an old mogul, Lady Gaga is traditionally irritating and antipathetic, but this time she is forgiven for it because that is her character. And Adam Driver is somewhere in between. At first, he is completely lukewarm, a jerk who does everything that a dumb conspirator from a woman suggests to him, but later it seems that he will start laying eggs and he will start to become independent. But also completely out of line with his task.

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Narratively, it is a bit on the trail of similar gorgeous sagas as Martin Scorsese once shot, dynamic, finely shot, and Scott portrays Italy the way we probably imagine it when we think of such ultra-rich people. Villas, crimson, unimaginable luxury, Lamborghinis, ostentation to the highest potency accompanied by unimaginable undercapacity. Of course those living members of the Gucci dynasty were horrified when they realized the way they were portrayed, as a group of grotesque imbeciles who didn’t deserve better, but somehow I doubt they were really much different from what we see because the story pretty faithfully follows real events. Of course, a lot has been left to artistic freedom and a lot has certainly been dramatized, but it is probably for a reason that all this has been pushed over to the absurd, because that is the whole story.

Interestingly, back in 2006, Ridley Scott was supposed to make a film about the Gucci dynasty starring Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio, and after he gave up as a director, his daughter Jordan was mentioned, for a while even Hong Kong modernist Wong-kar Wai. Eventually, Scott waited for the ball to return to him in his later years and directed the film based on the screenplay by the experienced Becky Johnston (Lord of the Tide and Seven Years in Tibet) and the young Italian Robert Bentivegne. “House of Gucci” can definitely be considered one of the most entertaining films of the year, it is a hilarious crime drama shot in an ironic, comic spirit. My rating – 8/10

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