Eighty-three-year-old film director Ridley Scott's attempt at boutique drama from a real life tale of dynasty, greed, treachery and murder based on a book by Sara Gay Forden had all the ingredients for a gripping dramatic entertainer. Unfortunately, neither the elements put together here, the A-list actors in the cast nor their individually notable performances come together as a compulsive whole in House of Gucci that released in India on 26 November 2021.
This is Magnum Opus specialist Scott's (after the 2017 All the Money in the World) most recent attempt at telling a dramatic, non-heroic story. It's a sweeping take on the events that led to the extinction of dynastic control of a celebrated fashion empire underlined by its scandalous history of backstabbing, betrayal, greed and murder.
When Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga), an outsider from a transport business background, marries into the Gucci family, Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) to be precise, her unbridled ambition begins to tear down the family legacy, triggering deceit, revenge, and murder.
The cast of A-listers that include the two leads alongside Jeremy Irons, Al Pacino, Jared Leto turn in individualistic performances that fail to mesh into a consummate whole. Driver gives a subdued, internalised and nuanced performance while Lady Gaga amps it up to the point of camp. Jared Leto appears to be trying too hard, Jeremy Irons as Maurizio's father isn't note perfect and Al Pacino makes flamboyance his meter. Salma Hayek and Camille Cottin have little to do here.
The narrative lacks a consistent tone and this causes the experience to fluctuate between two extremes - a somber-serious drama and over-the-top-excess. It feels as though Ridley Scott allowed his actors to have the final say while directing House of Gucci.
The standout aspects in this film are mostly technical. Arthur Max's meticulous production design, Dariusz Wolski's couture class period hugging cinematography, Janty Yates costumes for Lady Gaga and Suiting for Driver by a New York based tailor.
You are likely to look in awe at the lavishness of the Gucci lifestyle on display here but the overall experience doesn't quite hit the right notes.
We will go with 2.5 / 5 stars for House of Gucci.