Directed by Michael Winterbottom.
Starring Steve Coogan, David Mitchell, Isla Fisher, Dinita Gohil, Sarah Solemani, Shirley Henderson, Asa Butterfield, Sophie Cookson, Jamie Blackley, Pearl Mackie, Shanina Shaik, Asim Chaudhry, Enzo Cilenti and Ollie Locke.
Sir Richard McCreadie (Steve Coogan) is throwing a party and he wants everyone to know about it. Social satire meets sweat shop capitalism in this examination of society’s one percenters….
Subtlety gets left at the door in this veiled dissection of high street fashion mogul Sir Philip Green. Grounded by a scenery chewing manifestation of capitalist repulsion Steve Coogan dominates throughout. Sporting some serious dentistry and a face like preserved fence panels, Sir Richard McCreadie is bombastic, obnoxious and savagely street smart. He is by turns sincerely superficial, occasionally anxiety ridden and abundantly ostentatious.
Isla Fisher, Asa Butterfield and Sophie Cookson offer support as offspring and ex-wife, while writer director Michael Winterbottom uses flashback to provide context, make socio-economic points and mock his subject. Leaving David Mitchell’s Nick as a rare voice of reason amongst the blatant self-interest, ego driven tantrums and four letter dressing downs.
Cameras are free floating giving Greed an off kilter, semi-improvised feel while flashback sequences are more formally constructed and tradition. Something which is a saving grace overall as it introduces audiences to a young up and coming entrepreneur, that really brings things to life and engages the audience.
Charting his rise from school days to Seventies Camden Town impresario, Jamie Blackley almost steals it out from under everyone. Dismissive, cajoling and in complete command of his own destiny these early flashbacks provide layers and imbue Sir Richard with human frailties. In comparison to Coogan, Blackley is more rounded and provides McCreadie with a heart beneath the bluff and brinksmanship. However, where Greed falls down is not in the collection of character actors who breathe life into these creations, but the deviations Winterbottom makes into social commentary.
What starts out as an incisive satire underpinned by a masterfully monstrous Coogan creation, is soon derailed in favour of making contemporary points about capitalistic misdemeanours. Sweat shop side swipes and tax haven pulpit preaching also loses Greed dramatic momentum. Something which is further undermined by the appearance of a few choice celebrities, who actually distract us rather than building on the artifice.
To a degree that is why Greed meanders rather than playing to its strengths, which come through in Winterbottom’s observational humour and pithy one liners. Trapped squarely between social satire, socio-economic mock-doc and incisive character dissection; Greed fails to fully satisfy on all fronts.
Greed is available on digital to download now or pick up on Blu-ray and DVD from June 29th.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★