“House of Gucci” was going to be tough from the first line.
“I recently survived a screening of the two-hour-and-37-minute film that is ‘House of Gucci,’ ” the fashion designer Ford wrote in an essay for the digital weekly newsletter Airmail.
Ford, the Gucci creative director from 1994 to 2004, had unique personal insight into director Ridley Scott’s true-life drama around the fashion dynasty starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, Jared Leto and Salma Hayek.
He admitted his “opinion is perhaps biased” working with many of the real-life players in the saga, including Maurizio Gucci, the slain fashion house head played by Driver.
Ford even appears in “House of Gucci” as a minor character played by Reeve Carney.
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Both Gaga and Driver took high praise from Ford. Leto and Pacino lead the actors in a cast that seem to be competing “to see who can chew up the most scenery,” he wrote.
Here are Ford’s main performance takeaways:
Adam Driver as Maurizio Gucci: Driver “gives a subtle and nuanced performance. He is the calm in the eye of the storm that swirls around him.”
Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani: Greater praise as “the true star of the film… It is her film, and she steals the show.” Ford wrote that in the “over-the-top portrayal” Gaga’s “accent migrates occasionally from Milan to Moscow. But who cares? Her performance is spot-on.”
Al Pacino, as Aldo Gucci, and Jared Leto, as Aldo’s son Paolo Gucci: Ford stitches up these performances, saying, when the actors are onscreen, “I was not completely sure that I wasn’t watching a ‘Saturday Night Live’ version of the tale.”
“Leto’s brilliance as an actor is literally buried under latex prosthetics,” Ford wrote. “Both performers are given license to be absolute hams—and not of the prosciutto variety.”
Jeremy Irons as Rodolfo Gucci: Irons is “terrific and gives a far more restrained and layered performance than his on-screen relatives.” Even in praise, it was another swipe at the “ham” actors.
Salma Hayek as psychic Pina Auriemma: Hayek is “great, as always” but Ford called her role “under-utilized.” Ford pointed out that the casting of Hayek “is particularly inspired given that her husband (François-Henri Pinault) is the current owner of Gucci, a fact which will be lost on the mainstream audience.”