Rosamund Pike delivers a slick, savage lesson in greed and unchecked ambition in ‘I Care a Lot’
Written and Directed by J Blakeson, I care a lot is dastardly tale of blind greed, corruption, and ambition where there are no rules, no moral compass or code. Just the end goal of getting more. It sits firmly in the Black comedy thriller genre, even though you may struggle to find the comedy
I Care a lot stars Rosamund Pike as Marla Grayson, the CEO of a company designed to provide care, help, and support to the often forgotten and vulnerable elderly generation. When medical institutions identify an elderly person as being unable to care for themselves, Marla steps in as legal guardian and ensures their needs are met. Building a business based on providing care for the elderly may appear to be a noble cause but nothing could be further from the truth
Marla is a smiling assassin, a con artist running a scam so well put together, it’s as slick and brilliant as it is disgusting. I’ve seen many films with a variety of heists, grifts, and scams and never have I seen one like this. In the world of crime, most people no matter how evil have some sort of code or line they wouldn’t cross. Even Tony Montana wouldn’t blow up a car because it had a woman and her child in there. Most people in criminal enterprises understand their foes mother is over the line. Unfortunately, that’s exactly where Marla’s line starts
Her con is so well put together, she has police, the courts and medical establishments on her side. It’s almost terrifying to see just how exploitable our systems are and how easily we can lose what we define as liberties. She is joined by her girlfriend/partner in crime Fran played by Elza Gonzalez, facing off against crime boss Roman Lunyov played by Peter Dinklage. Marla ends up in possession of some of Romans property and the battle to gain the upper hand leads both sides to some interesting outcomes.
I Care a Lot s is a crime thriller but there are no good and bad guys, just bad guys or worse for you to root for. Who you support may be entirely down to your own moral compass: Roman is a drug and people trafficker; Marla exploits the elderly and vulnerable in the worse conceivable way so there could never be a nice resolution. Rosamund Pike puts in the kind of cold, ruthless, and calculating performance we remember from Gone Baby. There are no redeeming features.
If J Blakeson’s intentions was to create an antihero or a villain people wouldn’t mind routing for, I think it was unsuccessful. Marla has no quality worth admiring. Her strength and determination are all selfish and self-serving. Her relationship with Fran had some tender moments but these seemed mostly manipulative and underpinned by her relentless drive to win at any cost and on more than one occasion I found myself routing for the drug traffickers to win!
MORE See the official trailer here
A good film entertains, a really good film makes us think, feel, and elicits an emotional response from us, whether positive or negative. Based on that criteria, I Care a lot was a particularly good film. While I never really find Peter Dinklage convincing outside of Game of Thrones, the rest of the cast here do an excellent job of fleshing out these characters and connecting us to this world, with a special mention to screen legend Dianne Wiest. Rosamund Pike gives us a savage life lessons in determination and being unapologetically despicable and I couldn’t look away. This is definitely worth a spot on your ‘films to watch next‘ streaming list.