House of Gucci (15, 157 Minutes)
What do you get when you put a legendary director, a fun story and an over the top supporting actor in the same room? This film.
Ridley Scott is on a mad one. He’s just made The Last Duel, an exciting but problematic medieval thriller, and now he brings us a very stylish, if not a bit bonkers, tale of a family dynasty heading to destruction. Succession on steroids.
House of Gucci is exactly what it says in the tin. The Gucci line is at its most powerful in the 1980’s, led by handsy uncle Aldo (Al Pacino) and Rodolfo (Jeremy Irons), an ex-movie star who looks like he survives on the blood of virgins.
Watch out! Here comes devious, power hungry Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) who, using her witchy Gaga charm, has seduced the young Maurizio (Adam Driver) into marriage. The two embark on a ruthless purge of the old Gucci in an attempt to revolutionise the brand.
But, as many marriages do, things eventually take a jealous turn and Patrizia’s quest for revenge brings about the end of the Gucci line.
This is an interesting film, sexy, visually pleasing and enthralling in parts. The main cast do a grand job of bringing these characters to life, and the first hour is particularly enticing. But it all takes a very strange, unsettling turn for the worst upon the arrival when the loved up couple attend Pacino’s birthday party, where we unfortunately find ourselves in the presence of Paolo Gucci, played by Jared Leto looking like he’s preparing for the title role in a biopic about snooker player Willy Thorne.
This is where things go pear shaped. Many moons ago, when Leto dyed his hair bright green for a brief stint as Joker, I was convinced it was a good performance. People told me I was mad. They said I was talking rubbish. But I was absolutely confident that, given more screen time, his performance would blossom.
I can now admit I was wrong. Leto’s take on the eccentric, campy Paolo is not only weak, but downright offensive. If I was Italian, I would be offended. I was embarrassed on their behalf.
When we first see him, he’s sat on the edge of a sofa, caked in prosthetics, extravagantly smoking a cigarette. He opens his mouth and, suddenly, we hear his best Super Mario impression. For every scene he then appeared in, gasps echoed around the room. There were giggles, sighs and, in my case, a lot of head in hands.
It’s a shame. This is a gripping film with Driver and Gaga at the centre. Gaga gives a particularly wonderful performance, but Leto seems to be on a quest to hog her camera space. I’m surprised he doesn’t give us a rendition of Shaddap You Face.