Rosamund Pike thrives in a crime thriller that will keep you guessing until its final seconds
By Sean Blanford
We as a society would love for things to be as simple as black and white. Good or Evil, Right or Wrong, Fair or Unfair. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case, and it is within those shades of gray that chaos and confusion can flourish. There can be beauty and elegance there, and in a film like I Care a Lot, we don’t get a lot of black and white, which is why it is such a fantastic movie.
Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) runs a company that handles court-appointed guardianship for people who are no longer able to care for themselves. All of them are elderly with varying degrees of medical issues, and for someone like Marla, who is very, very good at her job, she can take every advantage she can to bleed them dry to “best pay for their needs.” When a ripe new “Cherry” comes Marla’s way VIA a tip from Dr. Amos (Alicia Witt), this could be the big break Marla needs to cash in. The “Cherry” is Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), a single woman with no known family and a life savings worth of cash and investments that is ripe for the picking. The plan, as usual, goes off without a hitch until details arise about who Jennifer is that causes Marla and her associate/girlfriend Fran (Eiza Gonzalez) to resort to different plans.
It is hard to discuss I Care a Lot without ruining what makes the film great. The aura of mystery surrounding Marla and Fran’s circumstances makes the film as fun as it is. Rosamund Pike thrives as Marla, giving one of her best performances since Gone Girl, and it is easy to make correlations between Marla and Amy Dunne as cold yet goal-driven women. She will stop at nothing to achieve what they feel is rightfully hers. Dianne Wiest as Jennifer also gives a stellar performance, and Peter Dinklage is perfectly cast as Roman Lunyov, a man with a mysterious past that rains havoc on the entire film.
The film’s most significant issues lie in the second and third acts, when everything is supposed to tie together but needed to be tightened to give everything even more of a sense of urgency. The screenplay from writer/director J Blakeson (The Fifth Wave) is very snappy and cloyingly clever but tries almost too hard to have us want to root for Marla. In the end, there isn’t anyone that should succeed, and that’s okay. Everyone aside from the judge (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) and the poor people that are being taken advantage of do terrible things for even worse reasons. There is no denying, though, that these awful people make you feel something, whether anger, irritation, or chills. The end of I Care a Lot is exceptionally divisive, but I felt it was extremely effective.
Overall, I Care a Lot asks you to swim deep in the dark pool of capitalistic society and all of the ambiguity and frustration it can entail. It may not be for everyone, but thanks to stellar performances by the ensemble cast led by the devilishly divine Rosamund Pike, this film is worth checking out.