Somewhere inside this 158 minutes long audition tape of Jared Leto for a Super Mario movie and Lady Gaga ego tripping towards her next academy award nomination is a 45 minutes movie hidden about one of the most sensational crimes of the century.
When every actor is encouraged to caricature-like performances it sounds like a movie that’s so bad it’s good. But that’s only half right. Bad taste can be forgivable and even an asset in the world of fashion. But monotony and insignificance are not.
To be fair, unlike “The Assassination of Gianni Versace”, Ridley Scott didn’t put the front-page-killing and the ensuing court battle in the title – but his tale of lust, greed, and revenge spends almost its entire runtime on the most boring parts of an implausible romance and therefore lacks a credible reason for existing. We came for juicy insights into the rise of a fashion empire and all we got was a constant reminder by Al Pacino, Adam Driver, Jared Leto, and Lady Gaga that “prosciutto” is Italian for “ham”.
And to be still fair: House of Gucci makes it pretty clear that it’s not about fashion but passion. But this seemingly can’t-miss combination of material and talent feels like the Shein version of an ambitious drama. Instead of orchestrating a thriller’s pace to murder and mania, the movie meanders on the brink of irrelevance as fashion victims will get blink-and-you-will-miss-it glimpses at Karl Lagerfeld or Tom Ford. But neither the story of Ford as a savior for Gucci nor his relationship to Maurizio Gucci are of any interest to Scott.
That’s where the true downfall of the House of Gucci begins. For over two hours House of Gucci feels like ordering Succession at Wish – it’s much closer to soapy miniseries from the 1980s than a true-crime-saga about a family who had it all and lost it all. The constant bouncing of tone between desperately wanting to be Ryan Murphy at one moment and basically becoming David Fincher just five minutes later keeps House of Gucci from holding up as a cohesive whole.
“It’s time to take out the trash”, Lady Gaga says at one point with her heavy, vaguely Eastern European accent which gives her the menace of Countess Dracula. But House of Gucci is neither trash to take out or Camp to wallow in – despite all its absurd moments it’s way too grounded for camp and too calculated for trash.
You can’t spell dysfunctional without fun and it’s hard to deny that the cast is having fun and with the right attitude you can, too. But a few funny over-the-top-performances can’t save a house that’s built on such a shaky foundation.