Greed: Another Review: Michael Winterbottom’s excellent latest movie couldn’t be more current if it tried as it mixes together unscrupulous business procedures exploiting third world countries with the pleas of refugees, and it even features a posthumous appearance of TV presenter Caroline Flack, who tragically took her own life just last week.
Look at any business papers and you’ll see how inclusive capitalism now seems to be at the forefront of most senior corporate leaders’ minds and Greed’s timings, whose storyline focuses on the rise and fall of a crooked and bully billionaire, couldn’t be more apt to spark and move forward a conversation about a better distribution of wealth and best practices.
And the film’s satire is also a look at other aspects of our modern life, from our obsession with reality TV and the worshipping of celebrity culture to the sobering reality of exploitation and the challenges of immigration.
Sir Richard McCreadie (Steve Coogan) is a fictional British fashion tycoon approaching his 60th birthday and getting ready to host one hell of a party on the Greek island of Mykonos. The movie details the lavish party’s arrangements while his team tries to do all they can to uplift his smeared public image.
Sporting a blindingly white set of teeth, Sir Richard has recently been the subject of a very public scrutiny in front of a parliamentary select committee over his business affairs (reminds you of anyone? Although, I am assured, this is an entirely work of fiction and not based on any real life fashion industrialist). His birthday was meant to be the most prestigious calendar appointment of the year but his recent PR disaster threatens to overshadow his efforts as celebrities begin to pull out of his celebration.
Teams of builders and assistants flock to the island trying to make the party happen while Sir Richard’s biographer Nick (David Mitchell) tries to piece together his life story, offering the viewer a behind the scenes look at what this billionaire’s life and career look like.
As the party day approaches, preparations seem to mirror his ill ventured businesses; over worked contractors throw in the towel as they try to recreate an amphitheatre for a Roman themed costume party and Sir Richard takes things into his own hands by convincing a group of Syrian refugees (played by real life refugees) to work for him for free, just as Nick is shown to meet Sri Lankan’s sweatshop workers who have been exploited by Sir Richard’s high street fashion brands.
A bit of a mockumentary sharp satire dotted with laugh out loud moments and an impressive cast list, Greed offers a first class view of the super rich, their lives and preoccupations and the extravagance of those who have more money than sense. And, the ending is just as dramatic as its Greek backdrop. Because sometimes it’s only when you open yourself up with a belly laugh that the moral punch really hits home.
Greed is out in UK cinemas now.
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