Amazon UK film review: I Care a Lot
Ivan Radford | On 19, Feb 2021
Director: J Blakeson
Cast: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Dianne Wiest
Watch I Care a Lot online in the UK: Amazon Prime
“I’m just someone who cares.” That’s Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike) in I Care a Lot, J Blakeson’s gleefully dark thriller about just how uncaring the modern world can be.
Marla is a guardian who looks after dozens of elderly wards, who have all had their assets and rights signed over to her following phoney medical diagnoses. Then, she milks them for ever last penny, while preventing them from contacting the outside world from inside their nursing homes. It’s a profitable racket – and she doesn’t care how noisy it gets.
Her latest client, Jennifer Peterson (Wiest), however, makes a little too much noise in the wrong places, and suddenly Marla finds herself crossing paths with someone much more powerful than she expected. Played by Peter Dinklage with a sinister authority and passionate anger, he’s a wonderfully amusing and intimidating villain – and yet he’s not the worst person on screen.
That title firmly belongs to Rosamund Pike, who commands the screen with a flawlessly frosty presence. Recalling her turn in Gone Girl, Pike relishes the chance to play nasty with a smile, breezing through every scene with brightly coloured suits and a steely gaze. She dispatches every line of dialogue like a chef precisely carving up a prize morsel, skewering targets with a outward compassion, from judges to pensioners who just need to politely go along with her court order for a second for her to get her way.
Blakeson’s script pits the pair against each other with a thrilling sense of equal monstrosity. They would almost respect each other’s influence and cunning if they weren’t getting in each other’s way, and Dinklage and Pike bring hints of humanity beneath their sociopathic surfaces that make them hugely entertaining to see in action; his loyalty is as ruthless and nasty as her affection for her conspirator Fran (González) is violently protective.
What ensues is a cat-and-cat, tit-for-tat battle for superiority. Blakeson gets the fast pace and whip-smart tone just right, with stabs of dark humour (watch out for Chris Messina as a smarmy lawyer), bursts of dark action and buckets of dark threats, swept along by Marc Canham’s fantastic soundtrack. Underneath it all, though, is a horribly timely satire, one that taps into the vulnerable loneliness that can occur when family can’t see their loved ones in care homes and even the way that conservatorship-like situations, such as the one involving Britney Spears, can be exploited by immoral parties. Pike’s Marla is a nasty piece of work, but she’s a vultures created by a system that’s chillingly open to abuse and a world that keeps trying to scare her into a submissive second place. Within minutes, you’re half-rooting for her – if only to see her get her comeuppance further down the line.
I Care a Lot available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.