Starring: Rosamund Pike, Eiza González, Peter Dinklage
Director: J Blakeson
Running Time: 118 mins
I Care A Lot is an American film about a woman who makes a crooked fortune by forcefully taking guardianship of elderly people, until one of her victims turns out to be more than she first appears.
This film really got under my skin. Really. A sickening portrayal of a horrifying and truly evil crime syndicate where even the mafia are the good guys, I Care A Lot crafts one of the all-time great villains in Rosamund Pike’s Marla Grayson.
As sickening as the film is to watch at times, however, there’s no denying that it’s a thrilling and enormously effective watch. Combining sobering and thought-provoking themes about the power of the state in deciding people’s freedoms, the unstoppable drive of a pure psychopath and the labyrinth of connections and conflicts that go on in the land outside the law, there’s a lot of meat to this film, and it’s all exhilarating.
Complete with a brilliantly slick cinematic style brought to life by director J Blakeson and cinematographer Doug Emmett, I Care A Lot is a film that, as much as you want to look away from it, you can’t. Visually striking from start to finish as it evolves from polished dark comedy to hell-bent crime thriller, the movie is an addictively exciting watch.
But the real star of the show is Rosamund Pike, who is electrifying in the lead role as Marla Grayson. If you thought her performance in Gone Girl was deranged, just wait until you see I Care A Lot, a masterful showing of her immense talent and staggering ability to bring the darkest, most psychopathic personas to life in such thrilling fashion.
Pike’s drive and intensity makes her character’s success and scheming truly revolting, to the point where you find yourself rooting for the mafia – led by Peter Dinklage – to take her out at any cost. As well as the film’s sickening themes, the ability for an actress’ performance to get under your skin quite so much is astonishing, and not something you’ll see often on the big screen.
What’s equally impressive is the way that I Care A Lot handles its transition from more of a dark comedy/crime drama to a full-on, deranged thriller. The film’s opening act uses its sobering themes to brilliant effect, along with sharp dark comedy that brings a nice, entertaining edge to what is a pretty tough watch at times.
However, it’s in the latter half of the film where all hell breaks loose, as I Care A Lot moves to a deranged game of cat-and-mouse with the shadow of innocent elderly people being caught in the crossfire of a battle between the mob and a career criminal.
There are times when Pike turns from a villain into an anti-hero, with the film occasionally taking on an almost triumphant atmosphere when she escapes her downfall on numerous occasions. However, that works brilliantly as the movie builds to a very sobering conclusion, and one that caps a story of sickening proportions in perfect style.
Overall, I loved I Care A Lot. Starring a masterful performance from Rosamund Pike, ingenious direction, writing and cinematography, hard-hitting themes, strong dark comedy, exciting thrills and so much more, it’s an exhilarating watch from start to finish, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.1.