I Care a Lot, directed by J Blakeson is a film that is hard to describe. Essentially, the story focuses on Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) who is a legal conservator that has made her living defrauding elderly clients by having them committed to long-term care facilities. When her latest victim, Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest) turns out to be more than just a rich helpless old woman and connected to a huge crime lord, Marla finds herself at odds with Roman Lunyov, played by Peter Dinklage. The thriller and crime story that ensues makes I Care A Lot one of the most pleasantly surprising films you’ll see this year.
I went into this film thinking I was about to watch a heavy drama about a very sad and serious subject… and boy was I ever wrong. This film throws countless curveballs at you, always keeping you on your toes and interested in the course of the story. In its first act, the film seems to be a serious drama, with comedic moments, of a very real issue in the US. Soon after, with the introduction of Peter Dinklage’s character, we realize that the story has turned more into a dark satire and crime story. As a result, this film doesn’t fit into any genre box, but is a culmination of so many of those boxes. Basically, if you think you know what to expect with this film, you don’t.
The performances in this film are excellent, but the standout is to no surprise, the main character played by Rosamund Pike. A lot of people are saying that this is her best performance since Gone Girl, and they’re right… because Marla Grayson is the most similar character to Amy Dunne that she has played. They’re both ruthless, cunning, completely lacking morals, with definite psychopathic tendencies. Safe to say that she excels at playing these types of roles. Marla is a despicable human. She thrives on destroying the lives of her elderly victims. She gets a doctor, who also works with her, to declare the senior incapable of taking care of themselves and thus gets the court to order the senior’s commitment to a long-term care facility. By becoming these seniors’ ward, Marla gets complete control of their financial and material assets, which she uses to her own personal financial gain. Marla’s latest victim,
In complete contrast to Marla Grayson’s cool and utterly chilling personality, she is only seen in vibrant colored clothing. From yellow suits to red dresses, the contemporary wardrobe in this film is sure to catch your eye. But don’t let it distract you from the darkness within Marla… It is simply used as a way to seem a lot friendlier than she is.
In the rear half of the film, the storyline shifts from the frauding of the elderly to the crime story between Pike and Dinklage’s characters. The funny thing is, both characters are despicable and overall just horrible human beings. Usually, when you have a good guy and a bad guy, you can take a safe bet that the good guy will come out on top. In this case, when both parties are bad guys, you don’t know who you’re supposed to be rooting for or who is likely to survive. I think this makes the whole cat and mouse chase all the more interesting, and is an excellent way to keep you invested until the very end (literally).
All in all, I Care a Lot is a surprisingly fun watch. With solid performances by Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage and Eiza Gonzalez and sublime direction from J Blakeson, this should be on everyone’s radar once it is officially released… Now, can someone buy this film for distribution please?! (looking at you, @Netflix)