‘I Care a Lot’ tells the story of a heartless con woman Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) as she profits by stripping away power of attorney from vulnerable but wealthy older people and instilling herself as their ‘guardian’. She bites off a little more than she can chew though when she decides to pull the same scam on Jennifer Petersen (Dianne Wiest) who has connections to Russian gangster Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage). Things rapidly start to unravel and take Maria down a more dangerous path than she imagined.
As much as all this sounds fun, the premise is a stretch from the very beginning, although loosely based on business models that exist it is a push too far to think that it would be this easy to take control of someone’s life through one judge and one doctor’s report and do this multiple times, suspension of disbelief is all well and good but there needs to be some sense of plausibility and that is lacking here.
It’s not just the premise that struggles to convince, there are a lot narrative decisions made by characters that just don’t ring true, which would be fine if the film played for an out and out silly comedy but there’s meant to be a feeling of threat to the characters as they are pursued by Dinklage’s villainous gangster. Instead his henchmen make decisions that are implausible easy for our leading lady to escape from and there’s never a real sense of any danger.
The tone is jumbled as well, it is not funny or clever enough to be a black comedy and not serious enough to be considered a thriller. Whilst it is certainly not true that you need to have obvious good and bad characters to root for, the issue here is that everyone is so poisonously bad that the moments crafted by the director to elicit sympathy for them fall flat and hold very little weight. You’d happily see most of the characters killed off without so much as a blink of remorse.
It is a real shame as there are great performances here. Rosamund Pike is fantastic in the leading role, once again delivering a sharp-tongued performance, every bit as cold and calculating as her turn in ‘Gone Girl’. Peter Dinklage is having a blast as ever and does a good job stealing every scene he is in. Dianne Wiest as Jennifer Petersen is absolutely brilliant, especially when the darker side of her character starts to shine through.
A film though is not made by performances alone and the far-fetched story, flat humour and an ending (no spoilers here) all too obviously ripped from a better film leave ‘I Care a Lot’ as something of an unsatisfying experience that could have been so much more.
Author: Paul, Bath store