House of Gucci

Written by Taylor Baker

50/100

House of Gucci marks Ridley Scott’s second film of 2021 after his box office failure but critical success The Last Duel in October. It’s also his second film this year built around the actions of Adam Driver, who plays Maurizio Gucci. The films story and events are based on the real life story and assassination of Maurizio by his wife Patrizia. Maurizio is the grandson of Guccio Gucci the founder of Gucci. His wife Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) gives one of the years most notable very BIG performances.

Dariusz Wolski who’s served as cinematographer on nearly each of Scott’s projects since Prometheus once again picks up the camera for Scott. Shooting lavish estates, landscapes, interiors, and boisterous if offkey performances from Lady Gaga, Jared Leto, and Al Pacino. There is a quality of flatness to the film that seems out of place, the chic clothing, the wealth, all seem cheapened and almost ugly. With moments among cows and other outdoor sequences appearing more beautified. If purposeful it’s an interesting choice that builds as we reach the penultimate and looming murder, but it’s so baked in to the film that the film itself starts to feel ugly.

The retelling of cultural titans straddling the Atlantic from the U.S. to Europe is something Scott recently did in All the Money in the World, which recounted the ransoming of John Paul Getty III. It notably also had thrust and intrigue, it casts an apt comparison for why Gucci fails. All the Money in the World was driven by human concerns, foibles, and seemingly real characters. House of Gucci on the other hand is a collection of hammy performances used seriously, rotating around a tamed Adam Driver who has a character reversal without explanation that is glaringly unearned. Interestingly among Money, Gucci, and The Last Duel it is the women who stand out and make the films, Michelle Williams, Lady Gaga, and Jodie Comer respectively. The difference is the men supporting Michelle and Jodie’s performances, stakes, and worlds made the material and vision coherently come to life. Which the combination of material, craftsmanship, and casting of Gucci failed to do.

House of Gucci loses its tone and pace in the early half and fails to coherently tie it’s characters emotional developments together by the end despite having plenty of runway to do so. Leto seems to be in a different picture than Driver, the same might be said of Irons and Pacino. Gaga nails being bigger than life while maintaining a consistent magnetism, but when she’s opposite Hayek, or acting “weak” the picture feels flimsy and begins to dissolve. Leaving us watching a star in the middle of a flashy rehashing that’s lost all intrigue and pull. House of Gucci is a messy overlong Oscar Nominee trailer, not the biopic juggernaut we’d all hoped for. 

House of Gucci Trailer

House of Gucci is playing in wide theatrical release.

You can follow more of Taylor’s thoughts on LetterboxdTwitter, and Rotten Tomatoes.

The Irishman

Written by Michael Clawson

Elegiac and exceedingly well-acted, this is my kind of crime epic. The kind with all the explosions and executions you’d expect, but that’s as interested in the lines on its aging mobster’s faces, the simple pleasures they enjoy, their stubborn ways and petty grievances, as it is with the mechanics of their wheeling and dealing in politics and business. It made me think less of Scorcese’s own gangster movies than Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. The Irishman isn’t wistful in the same way that movie is because the Manson murder victims were innocent people, whereas Sheeran, Bufalino, and the rest are obviously not innocent – they’re brutal criminals. 

But the melancholy that comes from our knowing of the Manson victim’s tragic fate as we watch them go about their day is not unlike the effect of learning of these mobster’s demise as we meet them. They’re all going to end up killing each other, or in jail, and for what? Again, the pleasures they enjoy are simple ones: juicy steaks, ice cream sundaes, bread with grape juice, if not wine; things they need don’t money and power to have and share with their children, whose affection they struggle to earn. And on that note, the runtime is essential to shaping Frank’s relationship to his kids: the length enmeshes us in the mobster milieu and mindset, defined by its indifference to the life and death of others, which makes watching his daughters look at him with so much trepidation so unsurprising and poignant. And to think they don’t even know just how many guns their dad had to throw in the river.

The Irishman Trailer

The Irishman is currently streaming on Netflix.

Episode 97: Rescreening Dog Day Afternoon

“My job is to care about and be responsible for every frame of every movie I make. I know that all over the world there are young people borrowing from relatives and saving their allowances to buy their first cameras and put together their first student movies, some of them dreaming of becoming famous and making a fortune. But a few are dreaming of finding out what matters to them, of saying to themselves and to anyone who will listen, “I care.” A few of them want to make good movies.”

Sidney Lumet

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This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor Rescreen Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon and provide a First Impression of the next Rescreening episode title, Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue.

Dog Day Afternoon Trailer

Dog Day Afternoon is currently available to stream on HBO Max

Drink in the Movies would like to thank PODGO for sponsoring this episode. You can explore sponsorship opportunities and start monetizing your podcast by signing up for an account here. If you do please let them know we sent you, it helps us out too!

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Episode 94: Rescreening The Thin Red Line

“I film quite a bit of footage, then edit. Changes before your eyes, things you can do and things you can’t. My attitude is always ‘let it keep rolling.”

Terrence Malick

Links: Apple Podcasts | Castbox | Google Podcasts | LibSyn | Spotify | Stitcher | YouTube

This week on Drink in the Movies Michael & Taylor Rescreen Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line and provide a First Impression on their next Rescreening episode title, Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon.

The Thin Red Line Trailer

The Thin Red Line is currently available to rent and purchase digitally

Drink in the Movies would like to thank PODGO for sponsoring this episode. You can explore sponsorship opportunities and start monetizing your podcast by signing up for an account here. If you do please let them know we sent you, it helps us out too!

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