This review contains spoilers
Upon the release of the first photos of Adam Driver and Lady Gaga as Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani, to say expectations for “House of Gucci” were high would be an understatement. With a cast like that and legendary director Ridley Scott at the helm, it seemed like a Hollywood dream come true.
That is, of course, until you watch it and you slowly realize that an all-star cast, a big budget and a beloved director will not save you from creating something that is utterly lifeless and entirely boring.
The film mainly follows Patrizia and Maurizio as they ascend the ranks of the Gucci empire, ultimately culminating in their separation and Maurizio’s inevitable assassination at the hands of a hit man hired by Patrizia.
Gaga largely entertains as the confident and backstabbing Patrizia, but her performance is often bogged down by an awkward script and strange directorial choices. Combine that with Driver’s performance, who seems almost as bored in every scene as I was watching this movie, and you’re presented with a film that will garner the occasional chuckle but will largely serve to baffle and confuse you.
Speaking of directing, the film is only another painful reminder that Ridley Scott (“Blade Runner,” “Alien”) is years past his prime, with his choices making some scenes nearly unwatchable. It’s as if Scott forgot that he was directing a movie and relied solely on his actors to pick up whatever weight he refused to carry.
One small example of this is when we’re first introduced to Jared Leto’s Paolo Gucci. We’re given a sweeping crane shot of the backyard of a large house with a group of men tackling each other and rolling around in the grass playing some sort of game. Instead of stopping the camera here where all of our main characters (Gaga, Driver, Leto) are located, the camera just keeps going and stops to hover over an empty banquet table. It makes no sense.
That isn’t the only strange camera movement in the film. The cinematography throughout is simultaneously bizarre and stale, with there being not a single memorable shot in the entire film. Through every scene, it feels as if Scott and the crew were simply trying to shoot every scene as quickly as possible so they could just move on and be done with the film already.
This is combined with the fact that the color palette is unbearably dull and may as well be in black and white. There are actually a few moments where the film does gradually switch to black and white but, every time it happened, I didn’t even notice because of how muted the colors were.
One thing I will compliment the film on is how it portrays Patrizia. While she certainly guides Maurizio in a very Lady Macbeth-like way, it’s ultimately Maurizio who ends up becoming cold and unkind towards Patrizia for seemingly no reason. It helps the audience sympathize more with Patrizia and gives more justification to her decision to hire someone to kill her husband.
With that said, the story is still largely uninteresting, which comes as a huge surprise considering that there is so much dramatic potential here. Any potential, though, is squandered by Scott’s extraordinarily absent directing and painfully slow pacing.
The slow pacing results in a film that is two and a half hours long, which wouldn’t be terrible if it weren’t for the fact that the movie does not justify this runtime at all and could have easily been 30 minutes or even a whole hour shorter.
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox
Ultimately, “House of Gucci” is a painful viewing experience. The directing, acting and visuals are all remarkably bad and disappointingly stale. The film feels like a counterfeit; while it may have all of the elements of a good film, it’s still so far from the real thing.
John Scott is the photo editor at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @JScott050901