Screenwriter Becky Johnston adapted House Of Gucci (2021) from Sara Gay Forden’s novel of the same name. It’s an uneven screenplay that has as many wonderfully satirical moments as it does boring ones. Johnston seems to excel at writing for the Patrizia Reggiani character while struggling to find the voices of the other characters that populate the world of Forden’s novel. Yet it’s unclear whether the focus of the film is meant to be on Rggiani or Maurizio Gucci; though it is clear that the narrative focus is not meant to be shared. This obscures and confuses the trajectory of the film as a whole.
Ridley Scott’s direction of House Of Gucci reprises the sensibilities of his film All The Money In The World (2017) rather than the aesthetic excess of his work in commercials including Lady Gaga’s Fame (2012). The world of fashion in which House Of Gucci is set seems ripe for the kind of uncanny spectacles and hyper realities that exist in Scott’s commercials so it’s almost bizarre that he takes a more “realist” or “traditionalist” approach. House Of Gucci is one of the few films of Scott’s long career where the performances outshine all of the visuals.
Actually, only two of the performances in House Of Gucci shine. Al Pacino’s performance as Aldo Gucci is some inspired campiness that’s matched in every way by Lady Gaga’s work as Reggiani. These two dynamos wipe Adam Driver, Jeremy Irons, and Jared Leto off the screen with their lack of restraint. The nature of these two performances is so fabulously broad and unhinged that by contrast all of the other players seem to be appearing in a different film entirely. Needless to say this lack of cohesion amongst the performances in House Of Gucci do Johnston’s screenplay few favors. A messy structure is compounded by equally uneven dramatic performances that make any investment on the audience’s part virtually impossible. Not one of the performances in the movie is bad, there just isn’t a clear sense of direction coming from Ridley Scott.
After all of these considerations one has to ask one’s self “who is House Of Gucci for?”. House Of Gucci isn’t the kind of reflective look at society one sees in American Crime Story nor is it as sensationalist as the standard biopic. House Of Gucci doesn’t feel like it was made with any viewer in mind at all. It feels more like an assignment that was completed out of a sense of necessity rather than passion by some student somewhere.