In a review published by Air Mail, the designer/filmmaker shared his honest, mixed opinions about the crime drama centered on the Gucci family starring Lady Gaga, Adam Driver, Al Pacino, Jared Leto, Salma Hayek, and more. Ford, who served as label’s creative director in the ’90s, said there were times throughout the movie when it felt as though he was watching a Saturday Night Live sketch, and was unsure whether it was “a farce or a gripping tale of greed.”
He wrote that “the film is...I’m still not quite sure what it is exactly, but somehow I felt as though I had lived through a hurricane when I left the theater. I often laughed out loud, but was I supposed to?”
Ford, who is briefly portrayed by actor Reeve Carney in the feature, went on to criticize the two-and-a-half-hour endeavor for its lack of character development. He said this could’ve been remedied by cutting a number of gratuitous scenes. He acknowledged the House of Gucci’s unapologetic campiness, but said it was often difficult to find the humor, as he had worked with the Gucci family for several years.
“I was deeply sad for several days after watching House of Gucci, a reaction that I think only those of us who knew the players and the play will feel,” he explained of the saga that ended in Maurizio Gucci’s murder in 1995. “It was hard for me to see the humor and camp in something that was so bloody. In real life, none of it was camp. It was at times absurd, but ultimately it was tragic.”
Ford’s review wasn’t all negative. Though he was seemingly unimpressed by Leto and Pacino’s performances, he praised Driver and Lady Gaga’s portrayals of Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani, respectively.
“Adam Driver, the leading man of the moment, gives a subtle and nuanced performance. He is the calm in the eye of the storm that swirls around him as his fellow actors all battle to see who can chew up the most scenery,” said Ford, who wrote and directed A Single Man in 2009 and Nocturnal Animals in 2016.
He continued, “But the true star of the film for me is Gaga. It is her film, and she steals the show. In her often over-the-top portrayal of Patrizia Gucci, her accent migrates occasionally from Milan to Moscow. But who cares? … When she is on-screen, she owns the frame—not an easy task with so many seasoned and talented cast members vying for our attention. Too many, in fact.”
Ford, 60, also applauded the “impeccable costumes, stunning sets, and beautiful cinematography.” And although he believes the picture falls short in several areas, he’s confident it will become a commercial success.
“Splash the Gucci name across things and they usually sell,” he wrote.