'I Care A Lot' Review With Casey
Oscar-nominated actress Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl, 2014) plays another villainous role as Marla Grayson, a professional guardian who takes care of old people who can no longer live independently. But Marla's care is a finely-tuned scam forcing the innocent seniors into a retirement home against their will, liquidating all their assets, and draining their life savings. But her crooked scheme takes a left turn when the latest victim she swindles turns out to be connected to a mobster.
I Care A Lot maintains great moral ambiguity with almost every character being a bad guy. You're not necessarily rooting for anyone to succeed, but you're easily hooked enough to keep watching. Rosamund Pike is magnetic as a sociopathic grifter who is as brave as she is devious; her perfectly white smile beautifully concealing a deep acrimony rooted in an entitlement to the American dream. However, it is precisely because of Rosamund Pike's performance that this film feels less unpredictable and less sharp than it could be. Her sociopathic performance in the 2014 film, Gone Girl makes I Care A Lot feel familiar almost to the point of being prosaic or mundane. (Please understand I use the word "almost" very thoughtfully.)
Director/writer J Blakeson's (The 5th Wave, 2016) original screenplay is wryly focused on characters who are interesting and not focused on making viewers feel inspired or edified. Thematically, this film doesn't have much to say beyond the resourcefulness and strength of someone who's bad. Jumping from different vibes of mobster thriller, black comedy, and survivalist drama make I Care A Lot feel more schizophrenic than multi-faceted. It's not a ride with brilliant depth or witty humor, but it's still a fun one people will enjoy.
It's also worth noting Rosamund Pike is nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her role in I Care A Lot, and she's the only film actress to be nominated this year for playing a villain. Villainous roles are obviously common for actresses, but it's rare to see one recognized with a nomination.