Patrizia Reggiani (Lady Gaga) works for her fathers trucking firm, revelling in the attention of drivers as she sashays across the forecourt. Patrizia works and parties hard, skills include forging her fathers signatures on cheques to save time, which may come in useful later.
Patrizia has dreams, most of which do not include working at a nondescript trucking firm in Milan. Following a chance meeting with Maurizio Gucci (Adam Driver) a different path opens up, moving her closer to her materialistic dreams.
Over time Maurizio swallows the offered hook and goes deep enough to marry someone the Gucci family determines “unworthy” to carry their famous surname.
Cut off from his father Rodolfo’s (Jeremy Irons) 50% stake in the Gucci fashion empire, Patrizia encourages Maurizio to reclaim his legacy with assistance from his uncle Aldo (Al Pacino). However, Maurizio seems content washing trucks and engaging in water fights with other drivers, whilst enjoying energetic “breaks” with his new wife.
Patrizia has bigger plans and finds a willing ally in Aldo, who is saddled with his son Paolo (Jared Leto), representing a disappointment on every level. Bedecked in his own unique wardrobe creations, with rather more money and privilege than actual talent.
Once embedded within the family, Patrizia continues to scheme like Lady Macbeth dressed head to toe in Gucci designer wear.
Set in the late 70’s and 80’s the film captures the hedonistic crass lifestyle of the rich and famous, dropping the audience into sumptuous birthday parties staged in beautiful lakeside Italian villas to die for.
Based very much on a true story, albeit embellished with poetic licence and compression of facts, this makes for an intriguing tale, which most will realise cannot end well.
The film is more about the journey than destination but does take a while to get there, at a languid 158 minutes. The story sails close to any possible legal issues by teasing story arcs which appear to get dropped, presumably due to fears of being sued.
Lady Gaga continues to prove her Star is Born turn was no fluke, with arguably the best performance, despite the acting royalty on show. Driver, with a quirky non acting style is always interesting to watch in a subdued role.
Pacino as you would expect plays to the crowd and seems to be enjoying himself, albeit not half as much as an unrecognisable Leto, who appears to have taken off all guardrails. Either brilliant or over the top depending on your view, with Irons conversely acting very dour and does not disappoint.
The story is a cautionary tale of achieving and losing one’s dreams of money and power, before seeking revenge for perceived wrongs, with assistance from a shady Psychic (Salma Hayek).
The clothes and period detail are on the money, with beautiful cinematography expected from a Ridley Scott directed film. The tone veers from comedic parody to tragedy, reverting to docudrama between the extremes with much of the cast adopting Italian accents.
How far the story stretches the truth is arguable, not in dispute is a need for judicial trimming of the extensive running time.
Enjoyable enough in camp OTT way, but arguably a better film was there to be made with the talent on display and a more consistent tone.