I Care A Lot is one of those dark crime comedy capers that thrives on schadenfreude. As much as we try to fight it, the darker side of human nature gives our mouths a little curl when just desserts are carried out. This is what gives I Care A Lot its spice, using its many twists and turns to toy with its characters in a game of who’s the cat and who’s the mouse?
This film is written and directed by British film-maker J Blakeson, whose calling card must surely be The Disappearance of Alice Creed, a well-regarded crime thriller. Praised for its many twists and turns, Blakeson brings this panache to I Care A Lot. The 5th Wave with Chloe Grace Moretz was a misfire but having the screenplay in his control, Blakeson delivers something more in tune giving his lead the right platform.
Rosamund Pike always gives 110%, as witnessed in this Golden Globe winning performance and echoed in A United Kingdom, Gone Girl, Fracture and many other fine supporting performances. Her lead role in I Care A Lot is reminiscent of Laura Dern from Marriage Story, presenting a powerful and ruthless legal custodian with icy precision. Entertaining as ever, Game of Thrones star, Peter Dinklage lends his signature performance to a mob boss with an axe to grind.
“You would’ve made an awesome Cersei.”
It’s a quirky crime comedy in a world of “lions and lambs” where an unscrupulous, blood-sucking legal guardian meets her match when her latest target turns out to be much more dangerous than previously anticipated. This entertaining yarn survives on its tantalising premise, stellar lead performance and quirky genre blend, which all funnel into a zippy, almost comical versus match up.
Tapping into the world of a sociopath with CEO ambitions, the film teases gender politics, but seems more concerned with style and entertainment value. In its bid to be as accessible as possible it forgoes the intense character portrait and American Psycho vibrations.
It’s wonderful to see Pike in full flight, elevating a role and film into a crime thriller with bite and flair. The legal guardian angle may be timely in its exploitation both literally and from a political standpoint but I Care A Lot is happy to coast along on a superficial Guy Ritchie Lite level.
Playing an anti-hero as Marla Grayson, there’s some guilty pleasure in trying to figure out which villain you feel more sorry for in this devilishly charming escapade. Equally yolked, the casting of Dinklage adds a fresh dimension that tilts into the comedy slant with him relishing the opportunity of playing a cruel mob boss with a band of goons. It’s also a treat to see Dianne Wiest wielding power from a vulnerable position.
The narration tries to give you a sliver of Grayson’s cold-blooded life philosophy. Ultimately, the wraparound theme seemed a little forced but Pike’s stunning lead performance elevates everything. I Care A Lot is an elusive dark crime comedy that tries to stay a step or two ahead of the audience – almost at its own detriment.
The bottom line: Rollicking