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February 28, 2021

I Care a Lot is riveting despite its flaws

I Care a Lot☆ ☆☆

Starring: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Chris Messina, and Dianne Wiest

Written and directed by: J Blakeson

Jonathan Blakeson recruits a terrific cast to portray terrible individuals in the pitch-black comedy thriller I Care a Lot, a scathing satire of capitalist greed that remains riveting despite the preposterous turns it eventually takes.

Rosamund Pike portrays the cunning Marla Grayson, a sociopath that, you can tell from the get-go, you will be actively rooting against throughout the film. Marla, the movie promptly shows us, is running a scam. With the help of several accomplices, the self-proclaimed lioness pounces on senior citizens. After becoming their guardian by asserting that they cannot take care of themselves anymore, she places her wards in an assisted living facility, cutting off their contact with their loved ones and pilfering their savings.

Her grift, however, goes quite awry when she goes after Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), a retiree with no family. Little does she know that her newest mark isn’t quite who she seems to be. Her swindle lands the protagonist in the crosshairs of Peter Dinklage’s Roman Lunyov, a dangerous mobster who quickly works out Marla’s racket.

Not one to walk away from a fight, Marla promptly tries to leverage her situation and it’s at this point that the writing begins to nosedive. The premise is interesting, the setup is terrific, but how things unfold henceforth is distractingly implausible. Several unbelievable developments plague the second half of the movie, plus there are some timespan discrepancies as well as inconsistencies in how the characters behave.

Still, you can’t help but remain gripped by this thriller and the credit for that largely goes to the wonderful cast. With a fiery lead performance that displays shades of Gone Girl’s Amy Dunne, Pike impresses from start to finish; this is the kind of role that the actress really excels at. Dinklage is also perfect in his part, as is Wiest, although you may be left wishing she was more involved in the latter half of the proceedings.

To his credit, Blakeson manages to create intriguingly despicable characters and puts them in a fascinating setting – the world he has designed works well both thematically and visually – but he could have made the story much more convincing while retaining, even amplifying, its satirical punch. Ultimately, while some of its plot points may not entirely work, I Care a Lot is still likely to hold your attention for its two hours running time and impress you with the acting skills of its wonderful cast.

Rating system: *Not on your life * ½ If you really must waste your time ** Hardly worth the bother ** ½ Okay for a slow afternoon only
*** Good enough for a look see *** ½ Recommended viewing **** Don’t miss it **** ½ Almost perfect ***** Perfection

In the picture