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Directed by Michael Winterbottom
THE never-ending greed of capitalism, the rise of free market Thatcherism and globalisation come under the spotlight in Michael Winterbottom’s latest film – a bold and brash satire which takes a long hard look at the disparity between rich and poor and makes us question our fashion and shopping choices.
It stars Steve Coogan as disgraced self-made British billionaire Sir Richard “Greedy” McCreadie, the head of a crumbling retail empire, who is about to throw himself a lavish and decadent Gladiator themed party in Greece to celebrate his 60th birthday and save his reputation.
Coogan, who has worked numerous times with Winterbottom, is on top form as the highly obnoxious yet charismatic and fun McCreadie (described as the acceptable face of capitalism) with his orange perma tan and Simon Cowell-style blindingly white teeth.
You can’t help but hate and like him at the same time as the film chronicles his rise and fall over the course of 30 years through the eyes of his biographer Nick (played perfectly by David Mitchell as a morally ambiguous character). It charts how the world and business has changed along with him through those decades.
Greed shows how the likes of McCreadie have no shame or remorse making billions off the sweat and labour of a female workforce in Sri Lanka who are paid just £3.10 a day for the clothes they sell for an obscene profit.
Yet, sadly, he is a man of his times who believes in the whole ’80s Wall Street ethos of “Greed is good.”
Inspired by Sir Philip Green – former billionaire owner of the Arcadia Group which includes Top Shop and Miss Selfridge – Winterbottom’s film is a surprisingly funny and entertaining ride in which he uses humour to get his point home as he lambasts the world of the super rich and their use of celebrities to bolster them.
But it ends on a sobering note as he reminds us of the real cost of fashion and whether we are all still willing to pay it.
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