Rosamund Pike takes centre stage again as a cunning and sinister ‘lioness’ in the new thriller I Care a Lot. Pike plays Marla Grayson, a career driven woman who makes her profit from swindling the elderly and fooling the justice system. Grayson, along with her friend, a corrupt doctor, convince courts to allow Grayson full guardianship of elderly patients, citing their inability to care for themselves. Once the patients are secure in care homes, away from the protection of their family and friends, Grayson’s team empty out any valuables and assets from their victims, and pocket the money for themselves. With a dark and sinister overtone and Rosamund Pike at its centre, the movie takes on a very ‘Gone Girl’ aesthetic. Pike has proven once again that she is incredibly suited to playing these ‘lioness’ characters, and I appreciate how solidly they stuck to this characterisation.
Many of these types of female characters, written to be heartless or cold-blooded, are then either made to be ugly, or eventually find their humanity as part of some wider character development (usually involving a man). But Grayson, a sadistic lesbian with excellent fashion taste, carries the same energy as DiCaprio in the Wolf of Wall Street, but never once sacrifices her femininity or her goals. Her meticulously designed pantsuits and dresses remind you of this in every scene, and although she’s more than happy to get her hands dirty, her charisma is what makes her so successful. While I was disappointed that Grayson’s counterpart was not another tall, beautiful merciless woman, I was happy to see that it was Peter Dinklage. His contrast, even just physically, to Rosamund Pike make the duo an unexpected but well-welcomed pair on screen. Their chemistry was not exactly electric, but it did firmly hold my attention. They play what I would normally describe as a cat and mouse game, although for these two it’s more like a couple of wild barn cats running circles around one another.
The film overall is sinister and dark, but surprisingly fast paced. There are action scenes for those who want them, quick-witted court scenes for others, and, in case I haven’t made it clear thus far, many scenes of Rosamund Pike strutting around in a pastel pantsuit for everyone else. While it’s listed as a comedy, I would not say that the film is comedic so much as it has a sense of humour. There aren’t necessarily any laugh out loud moments, but more of a cheeky and self-aware tone.
The one real downside of I Care a Lot is the act structure. The story peaks far too early, and the film is forced to elongate the climax for a good hour of the film. While I think this is rather common for action movies, the moments of quiet between the big action scenes are not really quiet enough. Instead, we get a rather repetitive and at times tedious onslaught of events. Although the exposition and conclusion are sharp and to the point, the pace of the middle act feels forced and convoluted. Nevertheless, I Care a Lot is a fun and upbeat thrill ride well worth a watch.