Vicious and brutal, I Care a Lot is a relentless exploration of what happens when greed is allowed to run rampant at the expense of the vulnerable sector.
It’s also a tonne of fun.
I Care a Lot follows Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike), a highly successful legal guardian who takes responsibility for the elderly and then exploits them for their vast fortunes. Sensing a huge potential windfall, she takes on a seemingly innocent new client named Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), immediately placing her in a nursing facility and strips her of her financial assets. However, when Jennifer’s ruthless benefactor Roman (Peter Dinklage) hears of her plight, Marla and her partner (Eiza Gonzalez) must go to war to protect their investments and potentially, save their lives.
Written and directed by J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed), I Care a Lot is an energetic dark comedy that commits to its wicked machinations and never looks back. Bursting with fire and entertaining from start to finish, Blakeson’s script pops with devilish glee as it highlights the malicious nature of corporate greed at the expense of the poor and oppressed. Though we have seen Dinklage in villainous roles before, he is in top form here as Wiest’s mysterious and vicious backer, Roman. Even so, the greatest surprise here is Pike who positively relishes her role as the morally bankrupt Marla. Bouncing with energy onscreen, Pike wheels and deals with a maniacal grin that is both enticing and intense. (In fact, even the usually docile Wiest underscores her performance with a sinister darkness.)
With that in mind, one of the more fascinating aspects of I Care is that it really has no hero (or heroine). Whereas most films would emphasize the honourable lawyer fighting to protect their client or the unjust system that takes advantage of the underserved, I Care has no such interests. In this world, corruption is rampant on both sides of the battle and victory seems to stem from the person who ‘wants it more’. By unleashing its inner darkness, I Care allows greed to become the soul of Darwinian business practices. Ferociously attacking each other’s livelihood, both Marla and Roman exemplify the very nature of ‘survival of the fittest’. While Marla views her elderly clients merely as numbers within her check book, Roman is equally merciless, refusing to lose what he feels belongs to him out of sheer tenacity and pride. (For this reason, the title I Care a Lot carries a sense of irony as ‘caring’ takes on an entirely different meaning in this world.)
Having said this, it goes without saying that the characters of I Care seems to care little about what is ‘right’ objectively within this world. At a time when large corporations continue to value profit margins ahead of people lives, I Care becomes a cautionary parable to the all-consuming nature of greed. As the two titans collide in a battle for dominance, both Roman and Marla seem blissfully unaware of the lives who are impacted by their recklessness. For both characters, acquiring wealth and power are the greatest good, regardless of who stands in their way. (Wall Street’s Gordon Gecko would be pleased.) Though families are torn apart and destruction rampant, they continue to remain focused on themselves. While the film eventually does acknowledge the suffering that their actions cause, Marla and Roman seem largely content to create chaos for their own sake.
Though the heart of I Care a Lot may sound bleak, the film’s style and enthusiasm are hard to resist. Featuring solid performances across the board and a brutally fun script, Blakeson’s film breathes satirical fire that demands attention. As the stakes continue to rise and the inner darkness of his characters is unleashed in all its fury, Blakeson never loses sight of the damages caused by their carelessness.
Even if they seem completely unaware.
I Care a Lot is currently streaming on Amazon Prime in Canada.