R E V I E W – M O V I E
J Blakeson’s latest Netflix movie I Care a Lot is a stoic take on professional guardianship’s pitfalls in America. Based on an actual loophole in the legal system, one that has recently come under the limelight following the wake of discussion around Framing Britney Spears, the film’s mirthless humour can be unsettling.
Although Marla Grayson’s rising empire that profits off abusing the elderly should come off as despicable in any society, the movie provides such an overview where even such a heinous crime racket appears to be insubstantial in comparison. When cunning legal guardian Marla (Rosamunde Pike) and merciless mobster Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage) clash, their collision is a comical converging point of the two poles of American greed. Marla, with her borderline misandrist dialogues, presents the White feminist take on late-stage capitalism. On the other side, Roman represents the ever-present crime families who exploit the system for their favour.
Marla’s character is proof that crime doesn’t always happen outside the sphere of law; heinous acts can very well be disguised under a veil of legality. This is a movie where none of the protagonists is likeable in the least. Everyone is sleazy one way or another. They can be labelled as unlikeable yet watchable. The protagonists’ dynamic exudes the aura of a train wreck in progress that you cannot look away from.
Despite such promising characters and plotline, the film fails to live up to its potential. The spark of potential gets snuffed out by too many plot elements. The pacing is mind-numbingly slow in the first half, and after the pace picks itself up, the film turns into a sequence hurtling through one generic thriller sequence after another. The sudden shift in rate renders the tone of the movie inconsistent. In the second half, the dynamics become cartoonish to the point where it seems reminiscent of over-the-top action movies. The sequences are one incredulous event after another, each more unrealistic than the former. Since satires are set in a semi-realistic world, some circumstances can be seen in a more forgiving light. But stacking one ridiculous event after another to keep the story going is where I draw the line.
The cast, including the actors playing supporting characters, like Eiza Gonzalez, Chris Messina, and Diane Wiest, performed so well that it almost soothes the disappointment that is the latter half of the film. Golden Globe nominee Rosamunde Pike is in complete form with her polished Gone Girl persona that she is well-known for. Peter Dinklage plays the role of an unconventional gangster with ease, proving there’s no role he cannot play.
It is an unfortunate event for fans of Pike who were planning on watching the film. Although there had been a lot of talent and promise involved with the movie, the narrative’s wrong turns derailed its progress. Unless films with uneven pacing and too many plot points are your jam, I would not recommend spending time on this movie.
Tasmim spends all her time listening to true crime podcasts. Send her killer ideas at [email protected]