REVIEW: ‘House of Gucci’ grabs a viewers’ attention, despite flaws

Al Pacino hasn’t been in a family this intense since the Corleones.

“House of Gucci” follows the famous fashion family from the late 70s until the dynasty fell apart in the mid-90s. The movie’s main focus is on Patrizia (Lady Gaga), a woman who in 1978 met and married one of the Gucci heirs, Maurizio (Adam Driver).

From there, the movie follows how the two maneuvered to gain more power in the family. Their efforts to do so put them in conflict with other members of the family, and eventually, each other.

Director Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci” is a melodramatic, and at times, over the top epic. Yet, there’s an intrigue to this odyssey of a wealthy family. Watching them scheme and double cross each other as they flaunt their wealth becomes intoxicating.

The film is full of fascinating character interactions that hold a viewer’s attention. Scenes such as Patrizia trying to charm her uncle-in-law Aldo (Al Pacino) so her husband can command more power or Maurizio working with investors on the future of the company are continually engaging.

The problem is the film really needed to be tightened up. It comes in at two hours and 40 minutes, but the length feels unearned.

The movie is trying to juggle Murizio and Patrizia’s relationship, legal issues with the family, share buyouts and a criminal conspiracy. However, the film doesn’t properly inform the audience on what year it is, what the location is, and what is exactly happening in some of the double crosses.

Courtesy Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Bron Studios and Scott Free Productions

For example, there’s a point where Aldo is sent to prison, but in the moment, it’s somewhat difficult to figure out what exactly he was charged with. In times like these, the film appears a bit scattered.

Additionally, how much of the movie’s runtime is dedicated to certain aspects is also questionable. The film spends a great deal of time showcasing how Maurizio and Patrizia began their relationship, yet there seems to be fewer moments dedicated to Maurizio’s assassination. The movie doesn’t have as good of a balance as, say, “The Irishman” from 2019.

The performances help the movie continue to hit a pretty good stride, though. Lady Gaga, for example, is fabulous as Patrizia. The character is passionate, cunning and demands respect from others. Lady Gaga captures all of this with a performance that feels like something out of old Hollywood.

Driver, Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Jared Leto, who play other members of the Gucci family, are all solid, too. The Italian accents by those performers, and Lady Gaga, are too much at times, but the eccentric characters they play match the film’s exploration of excess wealth.

The performances also capture the sort of social bubble these characters exist in. The concept of the uber-rich being out of touch with a focus on lavishness and plays for power above all else is convincingly brought to life in the film.

“House of Gucci” has its story issues and the excessive Italian accents the performers have from start to finish are put on too thick. However, the film remains largely captivating and entertaining. 3.5 out of 5.


Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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