On Friday, Amazon Prime Video dropped I Care A Lot. It's a morbidly comical film starring Rosamund Pike as Marla Grayson, a court-appointed legal guardian who defrauds her older clients and traps them under her care. But, sadly for her, the latest client comes with a few unexpected caveats.
What Pike’s character sets out to do is essentially strip away the basic human rights and free will of older people who have no family to care for them. She stops them from living the rest of their lives the way they want to and strips them of all their value by sticking them in a high-security care home and taking all they have for herself.
And it’s actually very funny. It’s a disgusting way to make a living but watching the way she and many other characters bask in the glory of their own depravity and cast other characters down with sarcastic, cutting humour is great. It’s almost empowering. She wants to be rich, and she refuses to lose.
Marla seems to take the term ‘antihero’ to another level. In fact, every character does. It’s essentially about a load of terrible people doing a load of terrible things and making nobody’s life any better in the process.
I Care A Lot makes you care about the story of a truly malicious personality. She’s charming and charismatic but utterly insincere, yet we soon learn that she’s a woman of principles. You'll respect her dignity even if there's nothing to respect about her actions. That’s not an easy thing to achieve in a film.
On top of that, it enables you to empathise with 'the villain' just as much as her. He just wants to protect his mother, even if he is a mafia boss. Maybe that's because Peter Dinklage is so likeable in the role or perhaps it's because Rosamund Pike effortlessly portrays someone so charismatically awful?
As they do battle for the rights of his mother's life (played hilariously by Dianne Wiest) it's as if we're rooting for absolutely no one and absolutely everyone at the same time.
Although the acting is great, the sense of fun in it all derives from how colourful, upbeat and rhythmic everything is. Sometimes there are lulls and the whole thing loses a bit of its edge, but for the most part there’s always a sense of energy and flow with synthy music and aesthetically pleasing visuals. It's a thrilling premise that's executed brilliantly and manages to make you feel good and laugh a fair bit in the process.
The only real issue to be found is the way Marla always seems to have an upper hand. It never feels like the villain has truly got any power over our “hero” in the story. Sure a lot of bad things happen to her and some unpleasant things are said, but there’s never a real sense of danger or threat that gets you heavily invested in the finale.
Because of that, the movie feels predictable as you head toward the ending and there's no real determination to properly "go there" in the way I Care A Lot definitely could. But then you're hit with a curveball that leaves you understanding why that feeling has been crafted for you.
I Care A Lot is, funnily enough, a film about people who do not care at all. Sharks that feel the need to constantly be a 'predator'. It’s about greedy people doing greedy things and, ultimately, being punished for their greedy actions. Because nobody is untouchable, no matter how untouchable you think you are.
Any Good? It's systemic corruption in its most amusing state