Friday, February 28, 2020

Review: Greed

Release date: February 28, 2019
Running time: 104 minutes
Starring: Steve Coogan, Isla Fisher, Asa Butterfield

Greed is a new dark comedy / satire about a ruthless billionaire planning a birthday bash for the ages.  The movie follows Sir Richard McReadie (Coogan), also known as McGreedy, as he plans a Greek-style birthday bash including togas, fireworks, and a live lion.  Although much of the movie follows this planning and the actual event, the movie is interspersed with flashback scenes from Richie's past, a hearing before British Parliament, and some reality TV style interviews from his biographer. 

For the most part, the acting and characters in the movie are very entertaining.  Coogan as Sir Richie is a joy to watch; his character is a ruthless businessman and general a-hole and Coogan plays him perfectly.  David Mitchell as Richie's biographer Nick is another refreshing character.  He plays a literary nerd with a very dry sense of humor that is wonderful to cut (or create) tension in several scenes.  Isla Fisher as Richie's ex-wife is another wonderful addition to the cast, with her subtle strength and control of the situations she is placed in.  The rest of the characters are good, but just not on screen long enough.  As a dark comedy, there are many laugh out loud moments if you are in the mood for that kind of biting humor; if you are, you will get plenty of enjoyment.  Additionally, the overall message of the film is ultimately a good one, and the film highlights some very disturbing facts about the world we live in.

However, the story of the movie and pacing could be better.  The film starts with the party, and then fills in the characters as the planning happens.  However, this makes the first part of the film very disjointed.  Some additional editing would have been useful as the film jumps back and forth between times quickly, and sometimes doesn't return back to where you started.  Additionally, much of the story is told from the point of view of Richie's biographer attempting to write the book, but this gives an odd reality TV type of vibe to these scenes.  It feels like Greed can't decide what type of film it wants to be, so it mashes together many different types.  This is equally so as the movie starts off as more of a comedy, then moves into a drama towards the end of the film.  All in all, it leaves a little to be desired for the story telling in this film and it makes the story tough to follow.  Additionally, the scattershot nature at the start caused so much to be thrown at the viewer, that it later felt like the film was dragging. 

Greed has some fantastic performances, coupled with an important social message and a biting, dry humor that will entertain while highlighting important inequalities in society.  

Rent It

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