J Blakeson’s I Care a Lot is an exciting and engaging mix of script transitions. It’s like, whenever the content feels predictable, it uses the peppy pace to excite you. And when things slow down a bit, it starts to navigate into directions that you may not have expected the story to move. And ultimately, what you get to see is an eventful life story of an unlikeable yet intriguing character who never really gave up on her sinister aspirations.
Marla Grayson, our central character, is a scammer. She manages to get court orders in favor of her to be the guardian of wealthy older people with her doctor friends’ help. Then Marla sells the properties and stuff that belonged to these people in the name of expenses. This blooming business hit a roadblock when she decided to deploy the same tactic to loot a woman named Jennifer Peterson. Peterson had certain connections with powerful people, and I Care a Lot is about what happens in Marla’s life after Jennifer Peterson’s entry.
Blakeson sucks you into this world of fraud instantly with his fast-paced narrative. We are shown how Marla operates, and even though she is an unlikable character, there is a charm to how she pulls off these scams. Because of the fastness, you tend to ignore the predictability of the script in the initial bits. But where Blakeson manages to engage you is in the last thirty to forty minutes of the movie, where we see some exciting developments to the character. Her relentlessness and her desire to be rich are portrayed in that Jordan Belfort style. Some exciting twists are happening in a very gradual way, and the politically correct “it was fun”-last frame and that smile gave a real smooth balance to the movie.
Rosamund Pike is scintillating in being Marla Grayson. The unapologetic greed is presented with finesse. The confidence to go head to head with an unknown and mighty bad guy becomes a believable take mostly because of the way she has shown the grit of this character. Peter Dinklage’s role is a tad funny and also intimidating. It was fun to see him play the part of the mafia don who struggles to find words when Pike’s character says stuff with great confidence. Dianne Wiest as Jennifer Peterson had that required coolness. Eiza Gonzales as the lesbian partner of Marla, showed the same level of intent and energy.
As I said, Blakeson has only revealed fifty percent of the structure of his script through the promos. Through fast cuts and exhilarating background scores, he skips through the character’s establishing part without making it look boring. There is a gone girl-like space to the script where you are, in a way appreciating the wicked side of this character. From that point, the movie asks us to look at the boldness and audacity of this character. And the shifts and twists that happen post that is different from the initial buildup of the movie. The cinematography is following a lighting style that sort of resonates with the confidence of Marla. When she is confident, we have these brightly lit day frames, and whenever she is unsure and is vulnerable, the screen becomes dark. Marla’s confidence shift again becomes a reason for cinematographer Doug Emmett to break the 180-degree rule in her first conversation with lawyer Dean Ericson.
The sinister side of the tale immediately makes I Care a Lot an exciting concept. And after treating the first half of the movie in a very commercially appealing way, writer-director J Blakeson tweaks it into a character exploration saga. When you see the film’s last frame, you might not empathize with that character as her deeds were extremely insensitive. But the chances of you recollecting her lines about being rich, living the American dream, and also re-exploring that character with your own backstories are high. And I guess this ability of the script to make us look at that character differently makes I Care a Lot an appealing black comedy.
Some exciting twists are happening in a very gradual way, and the politically correct "it was fun"-last frame and that smile gave a real smooth balance to the movie.
Green: Recommended Film
Orange: Okay, Watchable, Experimental Films
Red: Not Recommended