Barely his Last Duel digested, Ridley Scott is talking about him again by seizing a story that hit the headlines in the 90s in the company of a renowned cast. House of Gucci, between grandeur and decadence …
While he is actively preparing the sequel to his Gladiator, Ridley Scott, a director who no longer needs to be introduced, continues to occupy our dark rooms. And after brilliantly proving that he was still a great man with his Last Duel, here he was changing registers – but not Adam Driver – just a few weeks later (at least in terms of release date). House of Gucci takes us into a dark affair of money and betrayal within the prestigious luxury house.
At the end of the 1970s, the house of Gucci was recognized around the world, but began to show signs of fatigue. Rodolfo and his brother Aldo are getting old and do not know how to straighten the bar. Pablo, Aldo’s son, is a limited man who dreams of himself as a stylist and Maurizio, Rodolfo’s son, aspires only to become a lawyer, far from the family business. But when the latter meets Patrizia Reggiani, his future and that of the entire Gucci house will take paths that no one could imagine …
Like any film based on a case whose conclusion we already know, the important thing is not so much the landing as the fall. Scott thus embarks us in a game of dupes for the conquest of the throne where we are more interested in the why and the how than in the tragic end known to all. A war of alliance and family deception that has nothing to envy to Game of Thrones, except that here, the pen is stronger than the sword.
Ridley Scott’s tragicomic theater
When you want to transform reality into fiction, you have to succeed in giving it consistency so as not to lose your viewer in the chaos that is life. Nonetheless, Ridley Scott prefers to fully embrace the madness of reality in a cheerfully messy feature film. Does the Gucci’s fate become too funny to be tragic, or is it too tragic to laugh at? The director shines with his visual sense, but gives no direction to his narration, voluntarily or not.
We thus navigate between elements of black humor that never escape their first degree prison. Often, House of Gucci frankly rubs shoulders with the edges of pure comedy, openly mocking its actors, but never wishing to espouse the genre. On the other, those are the dramatic facts that set the scene. Far from mixing naturally as was the case with Parasite for example, these two aspects seem to repel each other here. We appreciate each facet, unfortunately distinctly.
A duality that is found in the gallery of characters. Lady Gaga vampirizes each of her scenes as a manipulative and playful Patrizia when Jared Leto personifies the guignolesque of things as soon as he opens his mouth. Opposite, Adam Driver plays the serious counterweight, without a shirt edge protruding. All of them are excellent at their roles, except they each seem to be playing in a different play. Strong Italian accents, Lady Gaga and Jared Leto have fun in their overplay, faced with the sobriety of their partners. One wonders whether the problem lies with those who do too much or those who do not do enough. There would only be Al Pacino to manage to have it both ways. But it’s Al Pacino.
A lack of chemistry that inevitably taints the credibility of a feature film that is nevertheless solid in each of its aspects, again only if we manage to disregard their opposites. Scott, who is not known for his comic films, does not manage to let the madness escape (hard to imagine the director renewing himself at 83 years old …) when it would sometimes be enough for the footage excels at it. Opposite, the dramatic twists and turns are masterfully conducted, but one element will always prevent us from taking it entirely seriously. A disturbing film …
We end up giving up all hope that House of Gucci really takes us somewhere, even finding the trip particularly long (2h40 casually), especially when it is in the company of a schizophrenic driver. And if we come out with no unpleasant taste in the mouth, we can not deny the absence of a marriage of flavors that transforms a gourmet dish into an ordinary plate.