FunAstrology"House of Gucci" by Ridley Scott comes to the...

"House of Gucci" by Ridley Scott comes to the cinema: false originals

Ridley Scott stages the fall of the fashion dynasty as a lively social satire: “House of Gucci”.

Luxury for everyone is of course a contradiction in terms. But you can get a taste of it. For as long as there have been films, their producers have sold box seats on the lives of the rich and famous. In order to keep our envy within limits, however, they often end tragically. They adopted the recipe for success from Shakespeare.

“House of Gucci” is exactly that: a luxurious colportage from true luxury life, although truth is always one of those things. “Inspired by the true story,” promises the trailer – however you understand it when someone is inspired by the truth to do something else. Fake Gucci bags were also inspired by real Gucci bags. But right here you are right in the middle of the story.

Once the social climber Patrizia, played by Lady Gaga and married into the fashion house, discovers an obviously fake Gucci handbag on the house of her servant. To their surprise, the bearers of the big name don’t care much. Al Pacino plays her brother-in-law Aldo Gucci at the lively pace of Italian comedies from the sixties. It is not at all bad when people who cannot afford an original adorn themselves with the name at least. His popularity among the underclass only cemented the big name Gucci for him. For the daughter of a haulage contractor, this statement also resonates with another message. Even in the family dynasty, will you ever think of her as anything other than a “fake Gucci”?

Aldo is the driving force behind the company founded by his father, which he wants to expand from the USA into an international luxury brand. When he sells a shoe to a wealthy customer with insistent hairdressing charm, it is because of the conviction that better quality cannot be found anywhere in the world. Nevertheless, this apparently exemplary entrepreneur will end up in jail, reported by members of his own family for tax fraud.

His brother Maurizio lacks such grandeur. Adam Driver plays him at the beginning with gorgeous exaggerated shyness, a willing victim when Patrizia casts her nets. The burly lawyer needs his time to develop enough ambition to join the battle for the company from the sidelines. Just as gorgeous, we experience the driver seduced by luxury, lose his inhibitions, squeeze into a Lamborghini Countach and squander the company jewels. No wonder Patricia will eventually put a killer on him.

In the gaming era of this family business saga, which ran from 1978 to the mid-nineties, this would have been the better “Dallas”.

Even if Ridley Scott didn’t make a series of it, he lets the footage run unchecked through the cameras. Two hours and thirty-eight minutes come together like this, and they fly by. To be clear, Ridley Scott did not have a society painting in mind, as Visconti might have created. One misses elaborate scenes from fashion production, only late in the film a Tom Ford fashion show suggests what will become of the brand when the Guccis have nothing more to say.

In contrast, the furnishings of “House of Gucci” are measured less against real paintings than against fake handbags. Seen in this light, Scott’s previous collaboration with Adam Driver, “The Last Duel,” is the more significant and original of the later work. Everything about this film flirts with the somewhat intrusive, boastful Gucci style of the eighties, but with full-bodied irony.

Most of the characters are caricatures of their real models, especially Jared Leto as the third brother Paolo, an artist who always fails halfway. He’s actually the only really creative guy among the Guccis, but his futile efforts to get the patriarch played by Jeremy Irons recognized make him a tragic figure. In a Tim Burton film all sympathies belonged to him, in Scott’s fashion operetta he only has the role of Buffo. Another element of weird exaggeration is the false accents of all the main characters – everyone pretends to be Italian. You have to get involved with that first.

But as much as the seasoned actors indulge in exaggeration, at least one young talent is at least trying to gain human credibility. After her furious appearance in “A Star Is Born”, Lady Gaga literally snatches another film. Surrounded by caricatures, she portrays the society novice without any condescension. The classism that this tragic comedy satirically attacks takes place in a culture with no real class. Or, if you will, a class without a culture. Lady Gaga equips her figure with a human authenticity at the beginning, which she immediately isolates at Gucci.

“House of Gucci” sounds like Edgar Allan Poe: As with his Usher house, things can only go downhill. Gucci no longer belongs to the Guccis. Today the company is part of the French luxury group Kering and more successful than ever.

House of Gucci. Regie: Ridley Scott. USA 2021. 158 Min.

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