I CARE A LOT (2020) Reviews and overview of dark comedy thriller

   

I Care a Lot is a 2020 American dark comedy-thriller film about a crooked legal guardian who drains the savings of her elderly wards. However, she meets her match when a woman she tries to swindle turns out to be more than she first appears…

Written and directed by J Blakeson (The 5th Wave; The Disappearance of Alice Creed; writer of The Descent Part 2), the Black Bear Pictures-Crimple Beck production stars Rosamund Pike (The World’s End; Doom), Peter Dinklage, Eiza González and Dianne Wiest.

Plot:

Poised with sharklike self-assurance, Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) is a professional, court-appointed guardian for dozens of elderly wards whose assets she seizes and cunningly bilks through dubious but legal means. It’s a well-oiled racket that Marla and her business partner and lover, Fran (Eiza González), use with brutal efficiency on their latest “cherry,” Jennifer Peterson – a wealthy retiree with no living heirs or family.

However, when their mark turns out to have an equally shady secret of her own and connections to a volatile gangster, Marla is forced to level up in a game only predators can play – one that’s neither fair nor square…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

” …a twisty, edgy cat and mouse game between two shades of evil. The picture starts off with terrific intensity, with Pike happy to return to a role that makes the most of her inherent iciness. Blakeson bungles the ending of I Care a Lot, but he’s great with introductions, giving viewers an unusual roller coaster ride of nasty people engaged in predatory business.” Blu-ray.com

“For a while, I Care a Lot has some grim fun with fearsome adversaries played by Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage trying to get what, and who, they want: Dianne Wiest, as the latest victim of a senior-care facility scheme. But it’s a limited, dead-end sort of diversion, coasting on a vibe of pervasive cynicism, plus generalities about predatory American greed.” Chicago Tribune

” …exquisitely nasty and horribly watchable thriller from writer-director J Blakeson, whose debut movie The Disappearance of Alice Creed twelve years ago gave us all grounds for predicting great things. And Rosamund Pike is tremendous, giving us her most outrageous Hitchcock-blonde turn since Gone Girl.” The Guardian

“Whether you find this entertaining or repugnant will depend on your stomach for a despicable reality. But the movie delivers unquestionable pleasures in the pairing of Pike‘s monstrous manipulator with the always wonderful Dinklage‘s cool, calm killer, a man too smart not to recognize and respect his adversary’s formidable intelligence.” The Hollywood Reporter

“The movie itself seems confused on the matter: It belatedly tries to grow a heart in its closing scenes, tossing off its snarky, self-satisfied cynicism and making a half-hearted lurch toward catharsis. It wants you to care, more than it cares to admit.” Los Angeles Times

“An unexpectedly gripping thriller that seesaws between comedy and horror, I Care a Lot is cleverly written (by the director, J Blakeson) and wonderfully cast. Marla is an almost cartoonish sociopath, and Pike leans into her villainy with unwavering bravado. And Wiest is sly perfection […]  But it’s the introduction of an inscrutable Russian gangster (Peter Dinklage, all cool intelligence and wounded-puppy eyes) that gives Marla a worthy foil and the plot a reason to climax.” The New York Times

I Care a Lot is a visceral experience that brings out the feelings of outrage watching an advocate take advantage, swindle, and imprison older adults for their own gain that’s utterly reprehensible. We have seen that before, but this is a feminist film. Women can be scumbags too and smart ones at that.” Ready Steady Cut

“The grift is impressive in I Care a Lot, writer/director J Blakeson’s pitch-black comedy. You’ve gotta say that much for it. But it’s also so infuriating that you probably couldn’t stomach watching the whole thing were it not for the riveting lead performance from Rosamund Pike […] Pike’s Marla Grayson is the towering embodiment of unchecked avarice within a system that’s ripe for exploitation.” RogerEbert.com

“Blakeson crafts sharp, curt dialogue that makes a fashion statement out of contempt, and it’s particularly nightmarish to see chic, slick Marla ransack the home like some yuppie conqueror or vampire. Marla represents the zero-sum mentality of capitalism, but she’s also meant to suggest fear of castration.” Slant

“Blakeson’s character development is a slight issue; Marla and Roman are the most fleshed-out people, and you get only a tease as to their origins. (The fact that they are mysteries does add to each of their legends, however.) The director’s biting satire and well-paced plot are on point, however, and I Care a Lot provides an immersive, sometimes quirky narrative with a boffo ending you will definitely dig a lot.” USA Today

“Blakeson’s dialogue has a witty subversive snap, and when he finally gets around to staging an action sequence, it’s a doozy […] Blakeson has written a terrific role for Peter Dinklage, who gets to show off his own propensity for stylish power games, but what the filmmaker teases out in Rosamund Pike is a revelation.” Variety

” …there is only so much to get out of this story when it comes to a movie stacking its latter half with twists, let alone some moralizing, as if an audience needs some form of relatability to better deal with the characters they are following. To be fair, I Care a Lot doesn’t try to sit anyone down and preach at them. This is a film meant to be enjoyed for all the ways we can see bad people act terribly.” We Live Entertainment

Release:

I Care a Lot had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 12th 2020. It was released via streaming in most countries on February 19th 2021 via Netflix and Prime Video depending on the region.

Cast and characters:

Rosamund Pike … Marla Grayson
Peter Dinklage … Roman Lunyov
Eiza González … Fran
Dianne Wiest … Jennifer Peterson
Chris Messina … Dean Ericson
Isiah Whitlock Jr. … Judge Lomax
Macon Blair … Feldstrom
Alicia Witt … Doctor Amos
Damian Young … Sam Rice
Nicholas Logan … Alexi Ignatyev
Liz Eng … Adelaide
Celeste Oliva … Police Detective
Georgia Lyman … The Assassin
Moira Driscoll … The Jeweler
Gary Tanguay … TV Interviewer

Technical details:

118 minutes

Trailer:

MOVIES and MANIA rating: