Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) has a business which consists on her becoming ‘a guardian’ for vulnerable old wealthy people. She and her network of partners, from corrupt doctors to lawyers and care homeowners, exploit the system which allows for this kind of abuse. One day however Marla places in a care home an old lady who is not quite who she seems.
I Care A Lot is a well made slick movie with a wonderful cast. It is an easy watch and the story it tells is full of surprises and twists. It has its heart in the right place: it tells a story of a system which is all too easy to corrupt, allowing old vulnerable and often sick people to be exploited by the individuals without scruples who see the old ones as a semi unregulated goldmine. Rosamund Pike plays just such a person. Pike is no stranger to playing unpleasant if strong female characters. She played the complex and duplicitous Amy in David Fincher’s Gone Girl (2014) and more recently she embodied the controversial and powerful American journalist Marie Colvin, who was assassinated in Syria, whilst on assignment for the Sunday times (in Matthey Heineman’s A Private War, 2018). These portrayals earned her critical acclaim and awards.
Unfortunately, Marla Grayson has no redeeming features whatever and however excellent Rosamund Pike is, the character she plays is one dimensional. It is impossible to feel anything but repulsion for her. As a figure, she links directly to various greedy male characters. One such example is the Michael Douglas’s Gordon Gekko in Wall Street (Oliver Stone, 1987), who believed that “greed is good”. This film’s storytelling is slick so the viewer easy settles down to enjoy its partly darkly comedic narrative awaiting a payoff of some sort which would make the whole experience less unpleasant. This payoff never quite comes and the whole offering leaves a bad taste all round when it ends. Two lesbians (Marla Grayson and her business and life partner Fran, played by Eiza Gonzales) are the evil and heartless individuals who never experience any kind of remorse.
The key villain Roman is convincingly played by Peter Dinklage. He happens to be a Russian and suffering from dwarfism. The general unconscious bias in the representation ‘of these evil people who are not quite like us’ permeates the film and is ultimately deeply problematic. Roman’s mother, Jennifer Peterson, played by the incomparable Dianne Weist, offers a few perfect and funny scenes. The film’s photography and editing are excellent. However, It is not quite enough to redeem this empty tale of corruption, and the (capitalist) evil fueling evil.
I Care a Lot is out now on Netflix and Amazon Prime.