I Care A Lot(Netflix)
Starring Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Chris Messina, Macon Blair, Alicia Witt, and Damian Young, with Isiah Whitlock Jr. and Dianne Wiest.
Directed by J Blakeson
Rating: *** ½
The first-half of this insanely wicked stroll down Greed Street is so frigging entertaining, I was hooked, lined and sinkered…whatever that means! Welcome to the world of pure-white red-hot avarice. There in that razor-sharp haircut is Marla Grayson, played by one of the most accomplished contemporary American actresses Rosemund Pike.
What does Marla do? Well,she is a professional certifiable scamster .Along with her business and life partner Fran(Eiza González) Marla siphons off the property and wealth of the elderly, declares then unfit for unassisted living , has them locked away at an old-age facility. It is the kind of horrific subterfuge I’d expect in a third-world country: unscrupulous , unfettered by any intervention of guilt or conscience. Marla has as her accomplice the entire administration from doctors and nurses to lawyers and judges.
But then Marla does what all over-smart crooks do. She over-reaches. She pulls her scam on Jennifer Peterson(Diane Wiest) whose son Roman Lunyov(Peter Dinklale) turn out to be a Russin mobster.So far this film is sparkling illustration of perfect writing direction and performances.
There is an exceptional sequence in Marla’s office where a lawyer(brilliantly played by Chris Messina) tries to bribe Marla out of the crisis that she has got herself into: free Jennifer Peterson and walk away with a hefty sum of money.The lawyer offers coolly.
Marla refuses the offer. This is where the screenplay begins to flounder. The screenplay grows as outlandish as Marla’s cocky scamming. The cat-and-mouse game between Marla and Roman is just not convincing or even amusing. And that remarkably stupid judge in the courtroom who repeatedly keeps falling into Marla’s hands , belongs in a sitcom on legal drop-outs.
It just grows exponentially absurd and violent until we reach the utterly preposterous climax which seems to have been written with almost suicidal absurdity.Have I seen a more entertaining first-half seriously damaged by a severely compromised second-half? No I haven’t.Is the film still worth your while? Yes, it is. There is so much going for it. Rosemund Pike’s brazenly immortal character and the actress’ complete belief in her character’s immorality.
And Diane Wiest makes a formidable adversary. I wish there was more confrontational scenes between these two brilliant actresses. There is so much more that this massively entertaining thriller could have given us. What remains is nonetheless quite something.