When I finished this film, I said, "Man, that was like taking a bath in a tub of rotten caviar." I'm not sure what I meant by that, but this movie kicks ass. Despite the obvious cinematic genius on display, it's best to think of this film as a summation of the 19th century Decadent movement, with its obscene extravagance and luxury; like the poisonous books produced during that time, Stroheim's cinema is terribly bad for you, but tastes real good. The whole movie is a half-crazed, insane riposte to conventional morality and conventional cinema, and it's impossible not to get swept up by the vile schemes of the central character, who like all great villains does evil largely for its own sake. In the end, it might not be as good as Greed (what is?), but it's close enough.