I Care a Lot (2020)

Another film that reigned victorious was J Blakeson’s dark comedy I Care a Lot. Winning Rosamund Pike the Golden Glibe for Lead Actress in a Musical or Comedy. The film follows con artist Marla (Pike) who acts as a legal guardian for the rich and elderly in order to drain them off their funds and fill her own pockets. Directed and written by Blakeson, I Care a Lot boasts pitch black comedy that may not be to everyone’s taste but its interweaving with other genres such as thriller makes it both gripping and unpredictable. With past films including 2009’s The Disappearance of Alice Creed, Blakeson is clearly a filmmaker who wants to push boundaries and discuss topics that a lot of filmmakers don’t dare say. I Care a Lot in particular is a satirical look not only in the health care legal system in the US but also the hunger and greed to achieve the American Dream and what some people will do to others in order to make money. Filled from wall to wall with horrible characters with even worse motives, this film will keep you on your toes from the first scene.

Marking Rosamund Pike’s best performance since her brilliant turn since David Fincher’s 2014 film Gone Girl. Marla Grayson is one of the most despicable characters I have ever come across. A lot of critics have commented how they couldn’t enjoy the film because Marla is impossible to relate to but I think this is the mark of a brilliant character and works in the film’s favour. Relating to a character is a traditional way of allowing the audience to feel at ease but this film does not want you to feel uncomfortable. Everything Marla does is to serve herself as she rids her wards of their freedom and self-respect. This isn’t easy to watch but the pitch black dark tone has an ironic twist where the audience is left watching and wondering if Marla’s plan will prevail in the end. It would be great to see Pike receive even more award nominations following her win although the Oscars tend to favour dramatic performances over comedy but Pike definitely deserves it.

Peter Dinklage is perfectly cast as gangster, Roman, who stops at nothing to have his mother released from the care home and out of Marla’s guardianship. Working as the polar opposite to Marla, Roman is a member of the Russian mafia and yet his motivation is perfectly understandable as he knows that his mother does not need to be in a care home. Where Marla is menacing and calculating, Roman doesn’t hide his own power. It’s great seeing Dinklage play such a dark role and it shows how adventurous he has been with his role selection since Game of Thrones ended. The scene in which Roman confronts Marla is fantastically written and directed and really shows the similarities between the two and how their greed overtakes everything.

A film rich in its supporting cast as well, the performances by Eiza González as Marla’s partner, Fran and Dianne Wiest as Jennifer Peterson, a rich elderly woman who proves to be hugely problematic when Marla targets her due to her connections to the Russian mafia that her son is prominent in. What is great about this film is how the female characters don’t have to explain why they do what they do. A lot of critics have commented on how despicable the plot is because of how the elderly are manipulated but it is important to note that there are decades of films made of a similar nature where men pull the strings and no one bats an eyelid. It’s about time we have a film filled to the brim with female characters that we’re not supposed to fall in love with or are overtly sexualized.

A real highlight of this film was the music by Marc Canham. A frequent collaborator of Blakeson’s, Canham’s score is fantastic and really underlays the unpredictable nature of the film. Using a variety of different music styles, there are many scenes in which the music is the star as it creates that intensity. The track that was my personal favourite was during the scene in which Marla has to escape a sinking car. With hints of the Goblins’ music for Suspiria, it brings in the thriller and horror of the story as Marla fights for survival. The simplicity of the shot mixed with the intensity of the music creates a moment that will leave you breathless and stunned.

Overall, I Care a Lot was extremely enjoyable with Pike providing another stellar performance. Due to its controversial subject and unconventional tone, it’s unlikely to garner a lot of nominations and accolades but it would be great to see Pike at least recognised and nominated for her performance. Blakeson has clearly made a name for himself on the world stage and it’ll be exciting to see where his career takes him next.

What did you think of I Care a Lot? Let me know in the comments below!

I Care a Lot is available to watch on Amazon Prime now!

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