I Care A Lot (2021) Review

I Care A Lot Review

There are elements of AMERICAN BEAUTY and FIGHT CLUB at play in the opening scenes of I CARE A LOT, but this film is concerned with the ugliest side of the American Dream and, unlike Tyler Durden’s polemic pugilism, this movie will leave you wanting to talk about a lot of things.

Rosamund Pike stars as Marla Grayson, a successful legal conservator who’s actually running a guardianship grift with a network of care homes, doctors and judges in her pocket. Her scam runs into trouble, though, when she inadvertently crosses paths with Roman Lunyov, a ruthless gangster who doesn’t take kindly to Grayson and her accomplices seizing possession of his mother’s affairs.

J Blakeson’s viciously acerbic thriller may, from certain angles, appear to be a black comedy but only if there’s something blacker than Vantablack. Rosamund Pike once again summons up a performance top-full of direst cruelty, evoking the character of Amy from GONE GIRL with a cynical veneer of razor-sharp commercial acumen. And it her who holds the dark heart of the movie, still beating, in her hands. The breath-taking ease with which a predatory conservator can, with complicit medical and legal authorities, move in to strip someone of their life and liberty is at once sobering and chillingly, farcically easy.

There’s a point in I CARE A LOT where it veers close to being a particularly edgy remake of DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS and, in that respect at least, it puts the recent Anne Hathaway/ Rebel Wilson effort in the much-deserved shade. But this is an edginess honed to a bleeding sharpness and it cuts deep as the film charts the escalatingly brutal move and counter-move between Grayson and Lunyov as the battle for supremacy over his mother’s affairs. Diane Wiest, as Lunyov’s deceptively unassuming mother, is underused but great value when she’s on screen while among the supporting cast Eliza Gonzalez and Chris Messina also impress.

Blakeson’s coup-de-grace, though, is in how he chooses to end his tale of late-stage capitalist exploitation with a final twist that’s both breathtakingly audacious and yet depressingly, deplorably credible. It’s a masterstroke of realpolitik recognition that makes a mockery of the puerile review bombing this film has suffered for its supposedly ‘too feminist’ story of a ‘mere woman’ somehow facing off against the Russian mob and more than holding her own. Blakeson knows that game recognises game and, more than that, money – and the pursuit of more money – is the route around any evil prejudices.

I CARE A LOT isn’t at times an easy watch and it’s certainly not a comfortable watch, but there’s relish in its bite and reward in its searing excoriation of the amorality and avarice inherent in the American legal and medical systems.

Score 8


A version of this review was previously published on CineFlixDaily.com