REVIEW: House of Gucci

I get a lot of stick when writing reviews for The Movie Dweeb. My reviews tend to flip flop; the first time I left a screening of Once Upon A Time in… Hollywood, I moaned to all of my colleagues, whining that it was pretty dull; that it went nowhere, and that if anyone went to see it, I would make their time at work a living nightmare.

Then, the second time I saw it, I raved about it – in fact, I remember giving it a whopping four stars on this site. (Please also click through to that page. I could do with any and all clicks I can get.)

As you can see from the top of this page, I have also given House of Gucci four stars, despite the mixed to negative reviews Ridley Scott’s latest film is getting. Naturally, what with me being me, I’ll flip-flop and join the rest of the critics in due course and say that this made me want to gouge my own eyes out, but until then, you can rest assured knowing that I actually really, really liked it.

House of Gucci is a two-and-a-half hour long biopic inspired by the true-life story of the Gucci dynasty, as Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) starts worming her way into the family, she soon starts to tear them apart, through betrayal, deceit and murder.

(Don’t come at me for spoilers. Reggiani was arrested in 1997. Chill out. Also, the Titanic sank. Deal with it.)

As I was writing that sentence – the one just before I moaned at you for theoretically getting annoyed about spoilers – I realised that I listed quite a few things I honestly don’t like it film; it’s a long biopic about a subject matter that I, quite frankly, couldn’t care less about. Primark is high-end for me, these days.

And yet, I loved House of Gucci despite that, and I think it’s credit to Lady Gaga and Adam Driver’s amazing chemistry. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the two of them together. It was nice to see Adam have fun, as he flailed about in a rowboat, or circled through Italian streets with a smile on his face.

Without such strong performances from Driver and, most importantly, Gaga, I’d have walked straight out of the screening… If I wasn’t so afraid of pissing off the distributors of blacklisting me. Please still send me free things. I beg.

I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand and one times already, but Lady Gaga is a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination, with only Kristen Stewart and (possibly) Nicole Kidman, for her stint as Lucille Ball, standing in her way.

Hilariously, I found it quite jarring when I heard Lady Gaga first open her mouth, only to hear an accent that would make the cast of What We Do In The Shadows squirm. I was sat for the entire two hours and 37 minutes questioning what part of Italy Gaga went to on her tours, because they did not sound right. I have page after page in my journal noting about how weird she sounded… Only for me to eat humble pie – as well as the free popcorn I received. Please still send me free things. I beg.

After leaving the screening, I watched several side-by-side comparisons of Lady Gaga and Patrizia Reggiani, and I was left shocked by how well Gaga nailed her portrayal. It’s not that Lady Gaga was doing a horrendous Italian accent; it’s that Reggiani sounds like The Count from Sesame Street.

And I’m allowed to badmouth her; she’s a convicted murderer. Whose side are you really taking here?

Of course, with a line-up of Oscar winners and nominees in your cast, what can you expect? Jeremy Irons was chilling and I’d love to see Al Pacino get nominated again. I doubt he will, but I’d love to see it.

And that’s it. That’s the whole cast of House of Gucci. There’s nothing less to say here.

Fine. I suppose I should talk about the elephant in the room. The pink jacket-wearing, Super Mario-sounding elephant in the room that is Jared Leto.

Jared Leto’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club was so captivating that I genuinely struggle to watch it without getting choked up today; eight years later. I was getting choked up to his portrayal of Paolo Gucci for other reasons.

I have seen clips of how Paolo spoke since – I learnt from my Gaga mistakes – and Jared did sound like him; but like a hundred versions of him. If they were all speaking all at the same time. Every-a word-a sounded-a like-a this-a. (To be read in a dodgy pantomime Italian accent.) Jared clearly gave it his all; he was unrecognisable – not just because of the stellar prosthetics – but because his movements and expressions seemed nothing like him, but I just felt his vocal performance was grating, and that he sounded like his only experience with Italian culture was from chasing Bowser.

The only thing that did confuse me with the casting was Gaga and Driver themselves, at times. At the beginning of the film, Lady Gaga and Adam Driver’s characters are supposed to be younger than 25-years-old. Adam Driver’s nearing 40. It has that similar vibe to Grease; when you’re looking at actors who clearly have four children with three different women, and a mortgage, talking about revising for their biology exams. If Lady Gaga and Adam Driver weren’t so iconic, I think the choice of not finding actors to portray younger versions of them would’ve gone unnoticed, but I couldn’t help but distance myself every time the two of them spoke about their ages. (But this is in no way a knock against either of their performances. As I said, Gaga for Oscar nominee and President at this point.)

House of Gucci is also effortlessly gorgeous. It needs to be; it’s a film about Prada Gucci. (It’s an easy mistake to make.) The soundtrack’s fantastic; whether it’s anthemic 90s bangers hyping up to a dramatic scene, or traditional, gorgeous Italian melodies playing in the background as Adam Driver eats an ice cream. (Yes, it’s a stand-out moment for me. I fancy Adam Driver. Who doesn’t. Sue me.) Visually, I’d say it’s close to perfect too – I mentioned Leto’s great prosthetics – but Jeremy Irons looks nigh-on dead in certain scenes, thanks to some talented make-up artists. At least I’m hoping it’s thanks to make-up artists, and that Ridley Scott didn’t just get enraged by “millennials using their phones” and just give Jeremy two black eyes, himself. There were some fun, bold choices for shots – as Gaga was losing it in a nightclub, the camera angles flickered from aerial views to swooping shots, as strobe lighting aggressively flashed. I also loved the use of black and white filters; as a newsworthy moment happened, such as the marriage of Patrizia and Maurizio, the screen would turn greyscale, mirroring the photos that would be seen in the newspapers.

I honestly didn’t think I’d be raving about House of Gucci as much as I am, but I loved it, from the performances (especially Lady Gaga’s), to the costumes, to Gaga’s performance, to the music, to Gaga’s performance, to the cinematography, to Gaga’s performance, and even Gaga’s performance.

What I’m trying to say here is… Father, son and House of Gaga.

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