Biographical films or those that are based on true events have always had a niche and an ability to attract film viewers. The disclaimer that a certain film is firmly rooted in actual real-life occurrences, brings an instant element of authenticity. What makes a true story even more interesting to see is when it’s filled with so much drama and controversies that are centered on popular celebrities or figureheads. Take the Netflix centered on the murder of Gianni Versace as an example, films and shows like these face the challenge of balancing facts and fiction in order to create a fantastic and engaging world for people to enjoy. In line with this biographical story on a popular icon in the fashion industry, recently another film was made that centered on a different name, The Guccis, through the film, The House of Gucci.
The House of Gucci may not have been the go-to film of the year for everyone due to the slew of big blockbuster film franchises and sequels. For those however who love fashion and in general so intriguing drama and controversies, then The House of Gucci may have been on your list of must-watch films for quite some time. The film also becomes even more interesting for movie buffs as well due to the sheer size of amazing talents that are attached to The House of Gucci such as director Ridley Scott, and lead stars Lady Gaga and Adam Driver who have been on a roll as of late in showcasing their incredible talents in acting. In addition to Driver and Gaga, the cast is further rounded out by actors such as Al Pacino, Jared Leto, Jack Huston, and Salma Hayek, just to name a few.
The House of Gucci Overview
I went into this film with zero knowledge on the events that had occurred amongst the family members of Gucci and heading into a film like this in this kind of state both have its merits and disadvantages. A little context however wouldn’t be the worst thing as you head into watching The House of Gucci. As the title suggests the film centers on the entire Gucci name and its rise, fall, and slight redemptive actions that it took in the fashion industry in building a name and brand that is uniquely theirs. At the core of this film is a story about betrayal, pride, and the lust for power, fame, and recognition which all took place within one family. Despite having elements that talk about love and romance, The House of Gucci very much like the true events that they mirror is, by all means, a tragic story (but more on this later).
The House of Gucci Review Spoiler Warnings
Truth be told, the plot of The House of Gucci can be summed up through the very events of what had occurred in real life. There isn’t much that was changed in terms of the events themselves. If you are aware of what had occurred with the Gucci brand, then count yourself spoiled with this film. However, it is still a different ball game when you see a reenactment if you will of such events as it still shines a different light altogether. This review however will, for the most part, be spoiler-free especially for those who are heading into this film, unaware of the Gucci brand drama.
An Exceptional Cast That Delivers
One of the definite highlights of The House of Gucci that truly made the film worthwhile and worth the price of admission was the solid performances by the cast of the film. The clear standouts not just because of their central roles in the film but also due to the sheer star quality and phenomenal skills shown in acting were Gaga and Driver. They truly took center stage to deliver captivating performances which in my honest opinion is the best that we have seen from the two to date. That’s saying something given Gaga’s amazing performance in A Star Is Born and Driver’s emotional and raw performance in Marriage Story alongside Scarlett Johansson. The on-screen chemistry of Driver and Gaga is also sublime and done to a T with both complementing each other in every scene and moment even throughout the various stages that they undergo for their character development.
Beyond Gaga and Driver’s performances, however, is a solid cast of supporting actors who are able to contribute and further elevate the story by giving it more personality. The cast in general undergoes amazing transformations not just in terms of their physical appearance such as Jared Leto’s prosthetics-filled look, but as well as in dedication to fully embrace the roles that they stepped into. The performances of Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and Jared Leto all round up the main Gucci family cast. They were able to compliment and add flair to the story with their quirky dispositions but it’s also worth noting that this wasn’t met with so much positive feedback as these actors would’ve hoped for (more on that later as well).
The downside however with the characters that these actors played was the lack of consistent, steady, and smooth transitions in their individual character developments. Most of the changes in the characterizations felt abrupt, to be honest, and too sudden. The changes in personalities didn’t seem to be very justifiable and lacked enough context as to why these characters suddenly changed the way that they did. It felt as if these changes were meant to be implied and therefore it lacked the impact that was needed for audiences to fully relate to key characters. Take Maurizio as a perfect example. The first half of the film showcased a very distant and aloof man who had neither the backbone nor ruthlessness to run Gucci but suddenly as if in minutes worth of footage and dialogue, he steps into a heartless business tycoon. It was a change that caught me off guard despite the amazing delivery from Driver, showed inconsistency in story-telling.
A Tragic Real-Life Story
At the heart of The House of Gucci is a heartbreaking story that truly embraces the tragic story of the titular family. In this manner, the film was able to truly depict the harsh onslaught of events that had occurred in real-life — painting a very authentic and unfiltered picture of reality. The lack of redemptive qualities and aftermath of the story is somewhat too hard to swallow, truth be told. However, in this manner, it’s very profound and is able to leave an emotional toll on its audience.
That being said, again there were some inconsistent plot points that were brought about by the characters themselves and how they were depicted in the story. It honestly lacked a bigger end goal to wrap up the story and felt at times that it was going through the motions with no truly satisfying end in mind. The build-up was honestly smooth in its pacing but was underwhelming when it finally got to the more climactic moments of the film. I didn’t find any particular moment to be boring as it was honestly engaging and exciting enough from start to end but once you finish, the movie’s story didn’t really stand out as much.
The source material, being history itself and the book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed by Sara Gay Forden was quite bland, to be honest, and lacked truly captivating moments to enable the story to shine. The House of Gucci, simply put has a simple, direct to the point and very one-dimensional story and while it has a certain engaging and entertaining quality to it, still lacks the substance to become a truly memorable film.
An Immersive But Inconsistent Atmosphere
The biggest problem that I have however with The House of Gucci can be summed up with the word, inconsistent. There is an abundance of inconsistencies in the progression of the story but as well as with the overall visual experience brought about by the cinematography and editing. Just like the characters who at times have abrupt changes, the visuals follow suit. There is a constant back and forth of various color grading techniques as well as a variation in the overall tone and feel of the film that is neither progressive nor linear in direction. Ridley Scott’s signature moviemaking style is still evident in this slower yet cinematic pacing of this film but lacks the maturity and depth that films such as Prometheus, Gladiator, and The Martian provide. It may be due to the different nature of this film as one that truly dives into reality but nonetheless, there could have been more improvements to address a consistent tonality and visual spectacle for this film without the grandeur of special effects.
One aspect in the visual side of things that was nailed right on the head with The House of Gucci were the costumes, hair, and makeup. Jared Leto first and foremost is simply unrecognizable in his role due to all the make-up and prosthetics which were done brilliantly. It was also an amazing sight to see the detail and attention that the filmmakers spent on creating a sense of grandeur in the clothing and costumes department. It is as expected for a film about a fashion icon that attention to such details was ensured to be done perfectly.
The House of Gucci Review Final Verdict
The House of Gucci definitely has its moments that shine and captivate its viewers. It has a sense of grandeur at times in terms of its production and overall visual spectacle that it provides with the highlight still being the acting chops and chemistry of its star-studded cast. The story begs for more exciting elements but overall, the film as a whole is satisfying enough to watch.
Check out our Guide to the Hype Meter here.
With that, I give The House of Gucci a score of 7. It has areas that it can definitely improve on, starting with the overall inconsistent visuals, tone, and character developments but for the most part, as a viewer, you will feel more than satisfied after watching this film. The flaws can easily be looked over as you gawk over the impeccable acting skills of Gaga and Driver as well as the somewhat intriguing nature of the story itself.
For more film and TV show reviews: