“I Care a Lot” takes the anti-capitalist screed genre to a new extreme: ruthlessly robbing grannies.
Rosamund Pike plays Marla, a woman who works as a court-appointed guardian to elderly people who either have no family, or whose relatives are not fit to take care of them. It’s an easy, if soulless, gig. Once her wards die, she gets to keep their cash.
Marla makes her already sleazy profession even more unethical by bribing doctors to testify under oath that some older patients are worse off than they are, forcing them into her grubby clutches.
“Playing fair is a joke invented by rich people to keep the rest of us poor,” says Pike in that calm-but-threatening voice of hers during a narration. “You’re not good people. There’s no such thing as good people.”
Running time: 118 minutes. Rated R (language throughout and some violence.) On Netflix.
Perhaps, but to recap: Marla makes her living by lying to seniors, waiting till they die and then pocketing their money. Is there such a thing as evil people?
Up to this point, director J Blakeson’s movie is a sharp satire of how society treats old folks, but it loses its punch when she takes on a well-to-do new ward, Jennifer (Dianne Wiest).
Marla forces the woman from her beautiful house and into an elder care home where she’s not allowed any visitors. But, we discover, Jennifer secretly has a son who’s in hiding … because he’s a Russian mafioso (Peter Dinklage). He flexes his dangerous muscles to rescue Mamushka.
The promising satire then shifts to a typical thriller with bloody shoot-outs, druggings, tazings and a car dramatically plummeting off a cliff. That business wears thin fast. “I Care a Lot” is almost two separate films, and I much prefer the first one.
Pike, who’s nominated for a Golden Globe for the part (putting this in the “comedy or musical” category is a stretch), is well cast here. She brings along those vacant “Gone Girl” expressions that mask a killer instinct. But there’s not much she can do when the film becomes a loathsome grudge match of Pike versus criminal Dinklage.
How are we supposed to choose between a grave robber and a Russian mob boss? Who cares?