Film Review – House of Gucci (2021)

films, reviews

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I always meant to watch this before now. It was one of those films I was more excited about than I’d expected. I just never go around to it. Why? It just seemed so long. When did we decide that films must be so bloody long these days? It feels as though we either get 90 minutes or a 3-hour epic. And what is the benefit of a long film? If anything, it just means you can’t tell your story succinctly enough. What better way to tell people that you don’t know how to tell a story than by making it go on for an hour longer than necessary? This week, I decided to suck it up and braced myself for the 158-minute runtime. I know that’s not actually a lot in the grand scheme of things but it was a work night and I was already exhausted. Who knew if I would be able to concentrate on this enough to get a good idea of how good it was? At least if the film didn’t keep me engaged then Adam Driver’s face would.

I’m always slightly suspicious of films that try to convince me that Adam Driver isn’t instantly desirable. Films that are based on the idea that it is a vast fortune that makes him a decent prospect. Adam Driver has to be one of the most handsome men in Hollywood, so let’s not pretend that Lady Gaga wouldn’t have been into him had he not been the heir to the Gucci fortune. Or at least, that’s what House of Gucci seems to be suggesting. Honestly, give me Adam Driver cleaning trucks for a living and I’d be happy. The film should have ended there. Unfortunately, real life was more complicated than that and the film had another 2 hours to go. 2 hours of me trying to remember that the bald guy was Jared Leto and not Jeffrey Tambor.

I’ll admit that I didn’t know a great deal about the story of the Gucci family, so went into this without any real expectations. Although, I did expect it to be better than it ended up being. I think Lady Gaga was amazing even if her accent seemed a bit dodgy at times. However, the rest of the performances just seemed a bit forgettable. I have a love of Jeremy Irons but what was he doing here? He couldn’t even be bothered to keep the accent going. Then Al Pacino just seemed a bit lost. And, honestly, I just need to ignore Jared Leto altogether. He was definitely in an entirely different film from everyone else.

The problem with the film is that it doesn’t know what tone it’s trying to convey. Most of the film embraces the trashy elements of the story. Not that I think trashy is a bad thing. I love trash but it doesn’t necessarily work here. It’s so over-the-top and melodramatic. I know this is a story based on true crime but that doesn’t mean it has to go so far in that direction. It could have had a bit more subtlety to it. The tonal difficulties aren’t helped by the overlong runtime and dodgy script. It just all felt a bit messy and undisciplined.

I think there was potential for something great here and there are positive elements. Driver and Gaga have great chemistry. I even think there was potential in the Jared Leto side of things. If only the rest of the film could have been brought into the same realm. House of Gucci was insane and undoubtedly fun. It just wasn’t really good. So, I don’t really know what to feel.

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