Review: Greed

As a child i was terrified of the poem, The Lion and Albert, by Marriott Edgar.

Set at a ‘famous seaside place called Blackpool’, it was all literally a bit too close to home for me (growing up in a small village about 3 miles out…).

It still haunts me. Anyway, I’ll just leave that here for now.

Greed. I mean where to start. A brief synopsis, i guess.

That lion, though….

Michael Winterbottom’s Greed, tells the story of self-made British billionaire, Richard McCreadie, (Steve Coogan), whose retail empire is in crisis.

So far, so (cough) Philip Green. Up before a Parliamentary Select Committee (quite), the only way McCreadie can think to save his flailing reputation and dwindling finances is the way he made his fortune in the first place – go big or go home. This results in the planning of a party to end all parties on Mykonos Island, to celebrate his 60th.

And what says 60th birthday like a brand new amphitheatre, complete with hired in lion for the occasion (the construction of which is overseen by Coogan’s old work-buddy , Tim Key (Side-kick Simon) and provides some of the funniest scenes in the film.

Coogan brings it in the only way Coogan can.

Brash, bold, cringe-inducing but always smart and on the nose, nobody else could have played the role.

Well one obvious person but he’s not an actor…

David Mitchell brings the ‘steady hand’, repping us all as the biographer, watching, noting, tying all the strands of ‘Greedy McCreadie’s’ life together, whilst swallowing his incredulity to get the job done.

The film taps firmly into the zeitgeist. We have McCreadie’s daughter (played by Sophie Cookson who recently gave us a wonderful performance as Christine Keeler, so entrenched in filming for a drama/reality show (think Made in Chelsea) that she doesn’t know what reality even is, anymore. In fact (and let me think how to explain this)…her boyfriend Nathan in the film, who is her ‘boyfriend’ in the reality show she’s making in the film, is played by Ollie Locke who appeared in Made in Chelsea itself. As himself.

I think…

Sticking with the reality -tv theme, the film now poignantly opens with a high-octane, self-congratulatory staff awards night, hosted by Caroline Flack who sadly left us since my viewing of this film.

Always a joy, Shirley Henderson plays Margaret, McCreadie’s balls of steel elderly Irish mother (bravo make-up/prosthetics team), Isla Fisher (and I really need to stop being pleasantly surprised by this), delivers another sharp, comedic performance as his ex-wife, Samantha.

Let us go back to the lion, because i can’t let it go – actual Jesus Christ. Left-field but then again expected. Brace yourself as you’re in for some deliciously devastating, ‘did that really just happen’, Tarantino let loose in the jungle stuff.

It’s a funny one as you comfortably hunker down into the knowing, satirical look at money and celebrity, the salacious bed-fellows that they are, but there’s almost a feeling of guilt when you’re suddenly brought back to the moralistic undercurrent of the film. The very dark side of capitalism is really brought home none more so than in scenes played movingly and beautifully by Dinita Gohil (Naomi).

There is then nowhere to hide from the stats flashed up before the credits, which will and (should) stay with you as you leave the cinema.

Greed is on general release from Friday 21 February.

Full cast and credits can be found here at IMDB.

Pics c/o Sony Pictures.