In Review

Film review: House of Gucci 

Lady Gaga excels in Ridley Scott’s fashion soap opera 

Ridley Scott’s “fantastically rackety, messy soap opera” about the fall of the house of Gucci is rescued from pure silliness by Lady Gaga, said Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian. She is “glorious” as Patrizia Reggiani, the daughter of a trucking magnate, who married the Gucci heir Maurizio Gucci (a gallantly diffident Adam Driver), before becoming so “incensed” by his infidelity that she hired a hitman to kill him. 

In this film, the pair meet at a disco in Milan in 1970, falling in love despite the “furious disdain” of Maurizio’s father (Jeremy Irons, in a charcoal-line moustache). Patrizia hopes for better luck charming the rest of the clan, which includes Jared Leto in “serious latex” as Maurizio’s “loser” cousin, and Al Pacino as a genial uncle. Scott’s “touristy, pantomimey approach to Italy and Italian culture” will set some viewers’ teeth on edge; but every time Gaga comes on screen, “you just can’t help grinning at her sly elegance, mischief and performance-IQ, channelling Gina Lollobrigida or Claudia Cardinale in their early-50s gamine styles”.

Gaga is indeed terrific, said Deborah Ross in The Spectator, but given its all-star cast and juicy subject matter, the film is a let-down. The middle act drags, and the decision to have the cast “a-speak-a in Italian accents” was surely misguided. Yes it is “messy structurally”, said Tom Shone in The Sunday Times, “but God is it enjoyable”. Few directors are more at home in the world of extreme wealth than Scott, and here the scalpel with which he lays bare “the desiccated morality and decadence” of the obscenely rich is sharper than ever. The film is a “conga line” of characters seducing one another – and proof that Scott, who is now 84, has lost none of his touch.

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