We live in Rosamund Pike’s world and there is nothing we can do about it.
After Gone Girl, there was never any thought about that really. But really, I Care A Lot is confirmation that Rosamund Pike can do anything. I know I was supposed to hate Marla Grayson in this film. And yet, even with all the evil things she did, I couldn’t stop but enjoy everything she was doing. She was an awful human being, but Rosamund Pike made her so damn entertaining that I couldn’t help myself. It’s a testament to her and her work, a testament to the casting, but also the script. Because I Care A Lot gave Pike a lot to do and she devours it and gives us her best performance since Amy Dunne.
Let’s first address the criticism this film has gotten even. When the first trailer arrived, many started criticizing the film for the subject matter. The subject of conservatorship has been in the media lately and many saw the film as making light of the subject and criticized it before even watching it. The truth is, the movie never makes light of it. It never makes it look like a good thing, the other way around. Marla Grayson is not a good person, she even says it herself, what she does it evil, many acknowledge in the film even. But she is living in a world where the villains thrive, she is striving for the American Dream and she sees what she does as the only way to do it. We are never supposed to feel like she is a good person, the things she does are despicable. But at the same time, the film isn’t about conservatorship… It’s a crime movie, a dark comedy thriller that happens to have its main character working as a legal guardian and taking advantage of people. I understand why many criticized the idea because it is a horrible thing but the thing is, why jump the gun and say how horrible it is before even having seen it?
I Care A Lot is a slick and smart crime dark comedy that takes nothing for granted. I don’t usually enjoy films that sometimes rely on editing and visuals to elevate the film. Vice was the prime example, where editing was so heavy that it overtook the film. But I Care A Lot knows how to edit his film to a rhythm that works for the film that it is. It’s slick and never feels like the pace of the film is anything but what it needs to be. J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed, The 5th Wave) wrote and directed a film that felt fresh while also taking elements that we knew. It might have been a crime movie where things can be predictable, but he was able to make it his own.
Too often in films, queer characters are made a big deal out of it. Their queerness has to be explained to everyone around them. It has to be mentioned over and over again, they aren’t just allowed to be. I Care A Lot never tries to do that, Marla and Fran are just a couple, they never say it to others, they never mention it, they just exist. Everyone in their lives knows that they are together and the film never feels the need to tell us, instead shows us. They exist together, the chemistry between Rosamund Pike and Eiza Gonzales bleeds through the screen. Eiza Gonzales’ (From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, Baby Driver) Fran also gets to be more than just the girlfriend, she has her own skill set that is invaluable to Marla and her operation. It’s a duo that needs each other and everything they do in the end is for one another. It’s refreshing to see, where their sexuality isn’t at the centre of everything, instead, they are just allowed to live just like any other couple.
And then, there’s Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones). I don’t want to give anything away about his character and his actions, but the moment he appears on the screen, the tone of the film shifts and all of a sudden you find yourself in the film I Care A Lot really wants to be. He and Pike create this dynamic that is so toxic and yet so entertaining, he never plays the character too big or too small, owning every second he is on screen. Pike might get the big moments and a lot of the humour, but he plays her straight men so well. He gets to be evil in a different way we are used to seeing from him. (I also did laugh a lot at his little man bun.) This is Dinklage in his best outing since the early seasons of Game of Thrones, it is so against type for him that it works. And maybe that it’s what this movie does so well, cast people against type, in roles we maybe didn’t them before. And yet, every casting in this just works.
I Care A Lot might get criticized by some because of the job the main character has and yet if that is the only thing that is stopping you from watching it, I am sorry for you. Because I Care A Lot is a slick and entertaining crime movie. I was screaming, stressing, laughing and had me gasping for air by the end. It gives us Rosamund Pike at her best since Gone Girl and uses everyone in the cast perfectly. J Blakeson created a feature that I can’t wait to rewatch and revisit with family and friends when it comes out, and one that I wish I had had the chance to watch in theatres because this would have been so fun to watch with a crowd reacting all at the same time.