Tuesday 25 February 2020

Film: 'Greed'

I wasn't quite sure what to make of this.  Despite reviews giving ample clues that it was not to be so, I'd gone in the vain hope that it was going to be an out-and-out comedy, starring as it does, one of my very favourite of current and recent names in that field. Steve Coogan, particularly in his Alan Partridge persona, or something close to it. (We saw Steve Coogan's uncanny impersonation of Stan Laurel recently in 'Stan and Ollie' as well as, a bit further back, his very effective straight role alongside Judi Dench in the high standard 'Philomena'). In this film there certainly are comedic moments, including some very amusing lines, practically all of which are delivered by the Coogan character, Sir Richard McCreadie  (nicknamed 'Greedy McCreadie', an approximation of real-life controversial and disgraced business tycoon and billionaire Sir Philip Green). However, throughout the film there's a serious undercurrent - culminating in an especially hideous event near the conclusion. McCreadie is the archetype super-rich villain, who in his case has made his money by using exploited 'slave labour' (mostly women) in Asian countries (here Sri Lanka) who work extra-long days in sweatshop conditions manufacturing garments for prestigious fashion houses for a pittance - which returns an enormous profit margin for him., 
Another clue as to the film's seriousness which I ought to have picked up on is that the film is directed (and principally written) by the ever-busy Michael Winterbottom, whose films always have a distinct social dimension - and whose '24 hour Party People'  of 2002 - also starring Coogan, was particularly well received. 

The film's main thrust is the organising of a lavish, historic Roman-style celebration (in Greece!) by McCreadie himself for his upcoming 60th birthday - including the presence of an actual lion for a mock gladiatorial scene! There's a succession of arguments and squabbles with native workers regarding the arrangements, little of which is going according to plan. Also present, in the agreeable person of David Mitchell, is his hovering presence as a journalist assigned to write McCreadie's biography. Mitchell is constantly foiled, fobbed off and frustrated in his attempts to garner info on his subject and his past life (there are a number of flashbacks to the young McCreadie at Uni in his early days of cheating others for monetary gain). Unfortunately this is a thankless role for Mitchell and, although I do like him a lot on TV, his rare film presence here in a superfluous part seems to be latched on to give him something to do, a character which could just as well have been dispensed with altogether.  

A number of celebrity cameos appear, mainly in the film's second half, though apart from Stephen Fry (very briefly) I wasn't sure if they were the actual individuals or were lookalikes - possibly all the latter, I suspect. 

Just before the film's closing credits a number of captions appear which spell out the continued exploitation of (mainly) women in Asian countries, an aspect which is, seemingly in connivance even now with big fashion chains. It all made me feel a bit guilty at having watched the film waiting for the 'funny' lines, which was the principal reason of my going in the first place. Had I watched the film with less rose-tinted expectations my view of the entire film could well have been more considered and reflective. Nevertheless I feel I should rate 'Greed' in terms of the moderate entertainment value I derived from it, though which might otherwise have been higher............5.5.

(IMDb.......5.8 - Rott.Toms (critics only).....58% ).


  1. I liked Coogan's Laurel and Hardy movie very much. This movie sounds kind of interesting, but not sure I'd make much of an effort to see it. I guess it depends on how starved I am to be distracted.

    On another note, I noticed you still have your blog list titled, The Gay Almanac, which is the name of my old blog. I keep hoping you will be able to delete that title to avoid confusion on your blog. Good luck!

    1. If you get the chance and you're interested enough, Mark, you might like to see this film with a more apposite p.o.v. than I'd adopted, thereby gaining a deal of pleasure from it - as much as I'd like to have when I view it again.

      Thanks for your comment on my blog-list, which has spurred me on to finding out how to change it to a more accurate representation - and I think I've now managed it.
      However, I do wish I could change that photo of self at the top (wearing green). It must be all of seven or eight years old by now, maybe more, but I can't find out how to do the change. The tiny one of me wearing black is much more recent but I'd like to change the green-top for a bang up-to-date selfie. My attempts to do so will continue.

    2. So glad you were able to correct the blog list! Wish I could help with the change of photo at the top, but I haven't even attempted to use a photo at the top of my blog. Best of luck!

    3. There MUST be a way, Mark. I'm not giving up.