The latest film by Michael Winterbottom and his frequent collaborator Steve Coogan (24 Hour Party People, The Trip trilogy), Greed is biting satire about the fast fashion industry, and the people who control it and profit from it.
Coogan plays Sir Richard “Greedy” McCreadie, a self-made billionaire of the fashion industry who is based, without much subtlety, on Sir Phillip Green. McCreadie is preparing for a lavish Roman Gladiator themed 60th birthday bash in Greece, being tailed by his biographer Nick (David Mitchell). It is through Nick, via his interviews and associated flashbacks, that we get the full picture of how McCreadie came to be such a success; through law-balling on deals, dodgy accounting practises, off shore tax havens and bullying and exploiting anyone who works for him. As the party gets nearer and his entitled family, including ex wife Samantha (Isla Fisher) and guests begin to arrive, a couple of subplots involving Syrian refugees and Sri Lankan textile workers are incorporated into the plot, mainly to drive home just how horrible McCreadie and his ilk are. As tempers flare and family secrets revealed, will Greedy finally get his come-uppance or will he sail through untouched again?
‘Greed’ succeeds as an anti-capitalist story, mainly through the Steve Coogan’s excellent portrayal of Sir Richard McCreadie. He is almost comic-book like in his desire to make money and Coogan relishes in every aspect of the role – even channelling a bit of Kerry Packer during a scene where he has to explain why he pays so little tax! The supporting cast of David Mitchell as the dithering , supposedly neutral observer and Isla Fisher as the estranged ex wife who has replaced love for money are both very funny, not to mention the circle of offspring and assistants that McCreadie supports/berates/abuses on a whim. Some of the metaphors and scenes in the movie are a little obvious, and it really hammers home the point of exploitation of third world workers for first world fashion – which is a good point to make but it doesn’t do it with quite as much finesse of similar films, such as ‘The Big Short’.
Director – Michael Winterbottom
Writer – Michael Winterbottom
Stars – Steve Coogan, Isla Fisher, Shirley Henderson, David Mitchell, Asa Butterfield
Rating – MA 15+ (course language)
Running Time – 1h 44m
Genres – Comedy, Drama