LFF 2019 Preview - Greed
Dir: Michael Winterbottom
Starring Steve Coogan, Isla Fisher, Asa Butterfield, David Mitchell
Winterbottom reteams with his muse Coogan for this satirical portrait of modern day avarice in big business. Although named Sir Richard (as in Branson), Coogan’s character is a good deal closer to Philip Green, as self styled “King of the High Street”, a man who has made his notable fortune through a series of hard fought and often morally dubious deals in retail. Now he wants to rest on his laurels – quite literally, as he plans a massive Roman-themed party for his sixtieth on a Mediterranean island, with an almost complete wooden amphitheatre, everyone in togas, celeb guests (Stephen Fry included) and some unwanted Syrian refugees, who he opts to dress as slaves. Meanwhile, David Mitchell is there to write his biography, and the word “hubris” keeps coming up.
Moving between Sir Richard’s life (from school days stealing 50p coins through his first business deals – stealing considerably more), via a government backed fraud investigation to the build up to this pivotal party, Winterbottom’s film is a powerful but always funny portrait of its central figure. It works less well and becomes decidedly polemical when it moves onto the broad-ranging issues of sweat shop labour and refugee immigration however.
That said it has a great soundtrack – Fat Boy Slim to T-Rex and more, a good few gags about certain pop stars – Bono and Robbie both get a hard time, a coked up lion, and a great central performance from Coogan, as a man with a decided predilection for the movie Gladiator, who makes prodigious use of the C-bomb.
Greed plays the LFF on 9, 10 & 13 October. For more info go to https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/
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