Sunday, May 3, 2020

Video review: "Greed"

“Greed” is the sort of sharp-clawed satire that ends up scratching its target more than goring it. It’s a send-up of the billionaire class, the ultra-wealthy who make piles of dough by cheating other people, then cheating the government out of their taxes.

Steve Coogan plays Sir Richard “Greedy” McGreadie, who made his fortune in the high-fashion world of High Street, where all the tony British labels make their way. He’s a classic climber who came from good stock but poor finances, and quickly learned that you have to take chances and twist some elbows if you’re going to make it.

Written and directed by Michael Winterbottom, the story is framed around Richard preparing for a lavish 60th birthday party for himself. It’s to be held on a remote Mediterranean tax shelter, a land of yachts and self-entitlement.

Richard is divorced from Samantha (Isla Fisher), though they’re still very connected in a business sense and their spoiled children, Lily (Sophie Cookson) and Finn (Asa Butterfield). Also tagging along for the party are Richard’s hired biographer, Nick (David Mitchell), a meek sort who acts as the audience’s eyes and ears, and Amanda (Dinita Gohil), who’s organizing the party but has family back in India working in the very sweat shops Richard benefits from.

There’s a lot of funny stuff in the movie, from Richard’s orange-hued fake tan and blindingly white teeth veneers to the overstuffed way he’s constantly moving about, yelling at everyone and expecting the world to cater to his whims.

Unfortunately, the film takes a turn toward the serious in the last act that doesn’t really work. You can’t spend an hour-plus laughing at the buffoonish rich man and then suddenly turn him into a credible villain.

Trying to provoke your audience to both laughter and anger is just, well… greedy.

Not much extra in terms of bonus features. There’s a single deleted scene and a making-of documentary short. That’s it.



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