All I knew about this film was Steve Coogan was playing a rich twat, and it had a load of comedic actors I enjoy like Miles Jupp and David Mitchell. I wasn’t sure what the story is, and to be honest I’m still not entirely sure having just seen the film.
Greed follows (sort of) the rise of businessman Richard McCreadie. Yep, that name is every bit as on the nose as you think. It also gives you a lot of serious commentary on working conditions in the factory’s that make a lot of your favourite high stores clothing. It also has an element of family drama in there alongside that, with a side helping of refugee crisis discussion. A lot to juggle for a film that also features a Lion, a court hearing, and plenty of Fucks and Cunts played for comedic effect.
It takes an incredibly skilled team of film makers to combine so many things into a coherent film, and unfortunately with this everyone involved bit off a bit more than they can chew. The story jumps from sub plot to side story without every focussing on one core story. The does build to a particularly unbelievable crescendo, but it feels out of place, like much of the film does. The tone shifts from comedy to drama to romance with no clear through line and there are moments when you’re wondering how the film got to the scene you’re watching.
On the positive side, Steve Coogan is hilarious as an overconfident billionaire McCreadie. He’s great fun in every scene and he’s just flexing his comedic muscles with his timing and the script actually gives him some fantastic lines. There are lines in Greed that my mates and I will be quoting for years to come. Coogan is consistent throughout the film, and I wish they’d have committed to a comedic film and let him really enjoy himself, possibly giving more to David Mitchell to do as the journalist writing his biography.
The other elements of the film aren’t necessarily bad on their own, they just don’t fit together. Take the refugee thread, and it feels like there is a lot more to explore and to say when you pull on it, but the film just doesn’t have the time to get to it. The same goes for the underpaid workers in Sri Lanka, another thread that the film threatens to pull on and unfurl, but it never quite gets there. The film skates across the surface of these issues with its comedic blades on, but never breaks the ice and dives into the really meaty subject’s underneath.
Greed is not a film heavily relying on special effects, but there are a few shots of shops that McCreadie owns that are photoshop edits of real-world places, and they look horrendous. I was shocked to be looking at them and noticing it so much. There are also a few really strange pauses in the film, as in the screen literally freezes forms second before transitioning into the next scene. It’s stuff that may well go unnoticed for many, but they really made me feel like this film hasn’t been made with the attention to detail you’d expect.
I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this film at all, as it genuinely made me laugh at times and the stats at the end cement how important some of the topics raised are. Greed just doesn’t combine those elements into something quite the way it was attempting to and that leaves it feeling like a disjointed, confused film. It’s got some really funny moments that’ll get you, but not quite the impact it aims for.
Good: Steve Coogan is great, the comedic moments hit quite frequently.
Bad: The multiple strings to this story, whilst important, never quite fit into the narrative making it a bit jarring when we go to those places.
4/10 – Greed’s eyes bigger than its belly.