When Rosamund Pike shocked audiences in “Gone Girl,” we all knew she was someone to watch. The line she rode between someone so charming and wickedly evil is something we hadn’t seen before. Her latest role in Netflix’s “I Care A Lot” truly solidifies her as one of the best actresses working today. Pike stars as Marla Grayson, a legal guardian to the elderly whose only goal is to drain their savings. When she goes after what they call a “cherry” in Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), she ends up getting more than she bargained for. I’m not going to say any more than that because half the fun comes from the unpredictability.
If you are someone who can’t follow an unlikeable protagonist, Pike’s Marla Grayson isn’t going to turn you. She’s a cold, tough-as-nails and calculating character whose only interest is making a profit for herself and her girlfriend (Eiza González). What makes the performance so revelatory is the web she entraps herself in the further it goes along. Pike sells the menace and survival instinct of someone having to outsmart some pretty terrible people with icy perfection. Talking her way out of any situation allows Pike to take drastic and effective shifts in tone. One minute she can be the kind and caring guardian, then tell you she can ruin your life with a smile.
This skill becomes especially entertaining later in the film with Peter Dinklage’s mysterious gangster. Watching her weasel her way out of situations is so fun because you never quite know how she’s going to pull it off. It’s in these moments that the music by Marc Canham takes hold. Comprised of both electronic sounds and synthesizers, it adds to the slow boiling tension. It’s in these moments that director J Blakeson threads the needle between true suspense and pitch-black comedy. With how tight the line goes into the crazy hijinks of these characters, it might not be for everyone.
I say this because no one in this film can be clearly labeled as good of a person. Everyone is out for their own self-interest and will do whatever it takes to get it. This heinousness can include ruining the lives of the elderly in rather drastic and detrimental ways. If you’re not interested in that “bad vs. bad” dynamic, then the film isn’t going to do anything to convince you otherwise. The despicableness is meant to explain the heinous amounts of greed a specific part of society feels entitled to. Suppose you view it as bad people getting both their physical and metaphorical comeuppances. In that case, there’s a great entertainment value to take from, especially during a time as strange as we’re currently living in. I know for me, it’s exactly what I needed to see when I got it.
For something that’s streaming on Netflix, “I Care A Lot” never lets up on the entertainment factor. You have an exceptional performance from Rosamund Pike that you don’t get very often. Add in a layer of unpredictability in the plot, and you get something that’s truly fun to see. What I can’t deny is that this is something you haven’t already seen before, but nonetheless exciting. When it premiered back in September in Toronto, this was immediately on my radar. It had the intriguing, twisty thriller pieces that sounded like something right up my alley. Now that it’s on Netflix, my only hope is that more eyes will be able to see that such an excellent performance is delivered. This is why “I Care A Lot” ended up to be such a pleasant surprise this early in the year.
Watch Trailer Here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D40uHmTSPew