davidehrlich’s review published on Letterboxd:
“Greed” is good enough — if only just. A serrated but superficial portrait of how capitalism distances the rich from its consequences, Michael Winterbottom’s damning sendup is often right on the money, but its broadside attacks on the ultra-rich are too obvious to draw any blood or raise our hackles. What more could you really expect from a bitter comedy about a Branson-esque billionaire named Rich McGreedy? Okay, technically the business tycoon that Steve Coogan plays is called Sir Richard McCreadi, but no one in the movie (nor anyone watching it) is fooled by the spelling; Winterbottom isn’t exactly trying to get away with it.
“Greed” likens Richard’s lifestyle (and the tax-dodging schemes through which he maintains it) to a magic trick, and the case could be made that the film only exists for the gallows humor it gleans from a system that’s allowed the world’s 28 richest people to have more money than its 3.8 billion poorest. It’s obvious, and that’s the point — that, and how insidiously it obfuscates the dehumanization of doing business. We know that H&M can only sell a pair of jeans for $25 because the women of a Sri Lankan sweatshop weren’t paid a living wage to make it, but it’s hard to connect the dots with the price tag in your hand. That dilemma doesn’t quite redeem a tepid slice of “eat the rich” satire that isn’t as nuanced or bracingly scabrous as a random episode of “Succession,” but it helps explain the straitjacket that Winterbottom’s film struggles to escape. How do you force people to actually look at something they see every day, and what good does that really do?