Highly entertaining ‘House of Gucci’ follows public implosion of the fashion family

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Arriving just in time to put holiday feuds with loved ones into perspective, Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci” is an entertaining soap opera about the fabulous fashionista family’s public implosion in the 1980s and 1990s. It’s a delicious network of backstabbing and betrayal that ultimately resulted in the multi-million dollar heir to the company – and the usurper, depending on who you ask – being gunned down in the streets by killers in pledges at the request of his enraged ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani. She is played by Lady Gaga in one of the most ridiculously enjoyable performances you’ll see this year, a triumph of over-the-top bravado in a movie where all the cast goes to 11. A good Thanksgiving movie for dysfunctional families, ” House of Gucci “also brings early delivery of Christmas ham, providing a treat for landscape lovers like Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto and especially Al Pacino. It is, as the old Alka-Seltzer advertisements would say, a spicy meatball.

As Gaga’s party girl Patrizia hears the last name of the gangly, unpretentious gentleman she’s flirting with at a costume ball, her eyes pop out of her head slightly. The shy young man turns out to be Maurizio Gucci, a shy law student played with aw-shucks charm by Adam Driver, and Patrizia immediately sets out to hunt him down and seduce him with incredibly sexy enthusiasm. The sweet-tempered young Maurizio wants nothing to do with the family business, currently run by his vampiric father and locked up Rodolfo (Irons) and his flamboyant, jet-set uncle Aldo (Pacino). But Patrizia has big plans for himself and for his family’s fashion empire.

Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani and Jared Leto as Paolo Gucci in “House of Gucci”. (Courtesy Fabio Lovino / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.)

Rodolfo d’Irons, resplendent in a pencil mustache, a tuxedo jacket and a stunning array of scarves, can’t stand the thought of his son running around with this downgraded and gold digger daughter of a local trucking mogul . (“Mafia,” he mumbles.) Their estrangement is only mended at the insistence of Uncle Aldo, who in Maurizio sees a future for the family business that certainly does not suit his own idiot, the stumbling son Paolo (played by Leto under a mountain of prosthetics that make him look like a Mediterranean Jeffrey Tambor.) Unfortunately, Aldo and Patrizia do too good a job preparing him to take over the business, and he ends up doing them icing. By throwing his wife to the curb and sending his uncle to jail, Maurizio becomes the Michael Corleone of leather moccasins. This is when things start to get nasty.

You could spend the whole day trying to analyze the details of the shareholder scam, but director Ridley Scott understands that we’ve really come here to see lavish examples of opulence and people who are horrible to each other. Americans have always had a punitive attitude towards our luxury porn – I remember my uncle watching “Dynasty” because he “liked to see rich people suffer” – and “House of Gucci” serves up some nice schadenfreude footage. to embitter us 99 percentages in the audience. Indeed, the scene that seals Maurizio’s fate is not when he cheats on Patrizia, but rather when he embarrasses her for having been too impressed by the Eiffel Tower in front of his wealthy friends from school. private. She might have married all the money in the world, but you don’t belong here unless you were born that way.

Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci and Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani in "Gucci House." (Courtesy Fabio Lovino / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.)
Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci and Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani in “House of Gucci”. (Courtesy Fabio Lovino / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc.)

Scott, 83, still shoots movies in an amazing music video – his “The Last Duel” just released last month – and there’s a gratifying recklessness that has crept into his work in recent years. Scott was always so obsessed with designing the perfect production and historical minutiae that it sometimes drowned out his stories. (His 2010 “Robin Hood” with Russell Crowe leading a group of not-so-happy men is oddly concerned about signing the Magna Carta and one of the most boring movies ever made.) The former filmmaker humorless has become surprisingly hilarious in his old age, making “Alien” prequels in which we are supposed to hunt down the monsters and indulging in wonderfully eccentric performances, like Ben Affleck’s glorious turn as a debauched and frat French nobleman in ” The Last Duel “. (This may be the best Ben has ever been. Too bad no one has seen the movie.)

Lovingly recreating the days when he cut his teeth directing luxury brand commercials, Scott leaves his actors off the leash. I’m not sure there is an artist who can seem less Italian than Jeremy Irons – his attempt ends somewhere around Bela Lugosi – but it hardly matters when he and Al Pacino are trying to outdo each other. in such a style. There is a sly gleam in their eyes that is contagious. I haven’t often had great things to say about Jared Leto, but any actor who can walk into a scene with Pacino and say, “I see what you’re doing here, and I’m going even bigger” has deserved my reluctance. . the respect. But in the end, it’s Gaga’s show. Anyone less confident would be swallowed up by the glitzy environment and the supporting showboating cast. She delivers a daring and brash trick that is a mini-masterclass for controlling the screen with movement. Patrizia might just be her second big movie role, but only a great performing artist would instinctively understand how to commandeer the camera like that. (Her protruding hips alone deserve a reward.)

Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani in "Gucci House." (Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures Inc.)
Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani in “House of Gucci”. (Courtesy of Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures Inc.)

Like any story that spans so many years, “House of Gucci” can get pretty hectic. For a while, it feels like all the other scenes take place at one of Aldo’s birthday parties, but somehow the characters never seem to get old. And Scott confuses an already uncertain timeline by retaining an ’80s disco soundtrack until the next decade. I’m also not sure it took two minutes longer than “Dune”, but it’s rude to complain about such a campy holiday treat. When it really rolls, “House of Gucci” feels like it’s looking at the Borgias with clutch handbags.


“House of Gucci” hits theaters Wednesday, November 24.

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