This is a solid entry for Netflix. In picking Blakeson, a mildly accomplished director with a good, albeit short track record and allowing him to thrive, its very clear indication that they’ve turned a corner as a studio.
Written and Directed by J Blakeson
Starring Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza González, Chris Messina, Dianne Wiest
Animals in the wild prey on the weak. Those who are unable to keep up with the herd are most often the objects of the hunt. In today’s society, children are more protected than the old and for predators like Marla Grayson, the old have more on which to feed. Grayson leads an assisted living facility scam in which she works with a Doctor and a Judge to have elders placed, generally against theirs and their family’s will. This allows her to be given guardianship over the seniors, granting her organization access to everything they thought they owned. If she can keep them alive long enough, she’ll drain their accounts.
After a relatively young senior drops off, Marla is given access to a “cherry,” who seems to have a bunch of assets and no living relatives. They pluck that cherry off of the tree after a fair amount of due diligence. Within a week, Jennifer Peterson (Wiest) is safely in the nursing home facility and Pike finds more than she could have hoped in a safety deposit box.
Then we discover that Jennifer had a weekly visit from someone to whom she was very important.
At this point, it would seem a good idea to back down, especially given the resources. This being the end of the first act, we know there is no way this is going to happen.
instead, the stakes are elevated higher than either side is used to seeing them raised.
For those with strong stomachs, I Care A Lot. is a nice little thriller. Much like Terminator 2, where two robots are fighting each other, Grayson and her nemesis (Dinklage) are not the kind of people for which most of us would root. Also like that sci-fi action thriller, the things that happen are more than a little preposterous.
The difference between this film and an unfunny joke is the seriousness with which Pike’s Grayson takes herself and her efforts. She is the kind of beast that thrives within the pack, using it’s own rules against it’s most vulnerable citizens. She is completely at peace with her bad faith.
Dinklage’s character likewise has made a career out of picking off the weak from the shadows. He does his best work if people don’t know who he is or from where he strikes.
The end result can leave the viewer confused when figuring out who they want to lose the most.
If you have a weak constitution or just don’t like seeing the unrepentant go after the weak or each other, this film may not be the best experience. Like most with films, Blakeson tries to spout morals in the last few frames to angle the blame at something ambiguous about American capitalism in the last frame. Other than that, and some truly unbelievable escapades, there are some delicious moments of black comedy sprinkled throughout.
Pike has a gift for sociopathic characters, as shown here and Gone Girl. She finds what would seem a worthy adversary here in Dinklage. While one might wish the latter’s character could reach the depth of his performance in Game of Thrones, there is something exquisite in showing how truly touched a cold blooded killer could be by his own perception of sentiment.
This is a solid entry for Netflix. In picking Blakeson, a mildly accomplished director with a good, albeit short track record and allowing him to thrive, its very clear indication that they’ve turned a corner as a studio. Pretty soon they won’t have to overpay big name directors to have them work for their brand.
(**** out of *****)