Once you get used to the rhythm of a movie where everyone is ruthless and rotten, you can have a good time with this cruel satire.

Rosamund Pike in I Care a Lot

By now, you may be familiar with the guardianship problem in our country. Last Week Tonight even did an episode about how eerily easy it is for a stranger to take over and exploit the life of an old man for personal financial gain. J Blakeson takes this conceit and uses it for his new vicious and brutal movie I care a lot, expanding the concept to show the United States as a huge scam where the only active players are predators. It’s a distinctly bleak starting point, but Blakeson and his cast handle the concept with a fresh and aloof style that allows audiences to follow this wicked journey while also setting a reminder to make sure our parents and grandparents are protected at the cost of the calls. .

Marla Grayson (Rosamund pike) is a scammer who works legally as a professional guardian. She has the system hooked up so that she can have the doctors and the courts working on her behalf to kidnap the elderly, take control of all their assets, and put them in a home where they will never see their families again. Marla and her girlfriend / partner Fran (Eiza Gonzalez) believe they have landed a whale when they meet rich Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), a woman who supposedly has no family ties. They go through their standard game plan of stripping Jennifer of her independence and wealth, but unfortunately for Marla, Jennifer has an undisclosed relationship with a mysterious mobster (Peter dinklage) who will do everything possible to get Jennifer released from Marla’s care. But Marla, proud of her identity as a predator, refuses to give in to anyone.

You have to enter I care a lot Accept that you’re not really “rooting for” anyone, and it’s okay when the characters are compelling the way they are here. Pike made waves in 2014 for her portrayal of the twisted and unforgiving Amy Dunne in Girl is gone, and Marla is very much in that mold of an apex predator who refuses to be intimidated by anyone. Dinklage is as charming as the unflappable mobster, and his more “fantastic” evil – Marla’s corrupt guardian who kidnaps people’s parents hits closer to home than a Russian gangster – provides a good outlet. We’re basically watching two monsters fight for two hours, and as long as you can put aside the weight of their vile behavior, their callousness towards humanity, and what it says about America that these types of people not only avoid justice but they they prosper. you can have a good time with what Blakeson is selling.

Related: First ‘I Care A Lot’ Trailer Features Rosamund Pike In Her Meanest

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Image via TIFF

Some viewers may not be able to get past the first twenty minutes or so because the picture gets too bleak. Marla enjoys her predatory and amoral demeanor, and watching her play the system to her own ends is far from comforting. When we finally find out that Jennifer is older and that Marla has messed with the wrong old lady, it’s like you can finally breathe again, even if you don’t know how the story will end. You need that hulking element because Marla’s evil is so vulgar and streamlined that without Dinklage’s sweet-tooth mobster, the look would be a total bummer. Fortunately, for the moment Chris MessinaA lawyer’s shark comes to threaten Marla, the movie has found its groove and you’re eager to see which human smuggler will get his due.

The movie begins to shake a bit in its third act as it tries to escalate the conflict and both monsters begin to lose the grip that defines their power, and there are some plot developments that feel particularly rushed and sloppy, but I care a lot often able to get carried away by their cold, calm, and unpleasant presence. It’s so far removed from anything polite and decent that you can revel in its enormous circumstances, even if those circumstances don’t always make a lot of sense.

You certainly have to be in the right headspace to I care a lot. I fully sympathize with anyone who doesn’t have much of an appetite for watching horrible people fight knowing that at least one of them has to come out on top when the movie opens by saying that decency and kindness are for poor and naive people. But sometimes we have no appetite for what is good, and sometimes the best way to see how awful the world is is through a stylized satirical lens. That’s what Blakeson gives us with I care a lot And while you may feel dizzy afterward, you’ll still be grateful for the cold water stream.

Rating: B +

Keep reading: Rosamund Pike and J Blakeson on Amazon’s ‘I Care a Lot’ and ‘The Wheel of Time’

I-Care-A-Lot Poster

There’s a credits scene at the end of this week’s ‘WandaVision’

Don’t touch that remote!

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