When “I Care a Lot” was released on Netflix, the psychological thriller spurred an interesting conversation. The film revolves around con-woman Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike), who systematically takes advantage of the elderly in her area. Marla preys upon senior citizens by legally assuming guardianship over their person, allowing her the authority to sell and profit from remaining assets. With compliance from an equally corrupt retirement home and doctor, Marla’s operation has yet to be uncovered. However, when Marla attempts to exploit Jennifer Peterson (Diana Witt), who appears to be the perfect victim, the con-woman falls into a much larger conspiracy.
The film attempts to expose larger faults in the American system but ultimately fails. Although the acting in the film is undeniably brilliant, the plot is inconsistent. The main villain of the film, Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage), is a perplexing addition to the film. Roman’s characterization is intriguing, but as the film continues, he becomes increasingly outlandish. Once the Russian mafia, stolen jewels and kidnapping are introduced, the experience is cheapened. A poignant, dark beginning that reveals the cracks of a broken system amounts to nothing. The entire theme of elderly abuse is nearly abandoned — by the end, “I Care a Lot” resembles any one-note mafia movie. Phenomenal casting, witty dialogue, an interesting premise, and yet, “I Care a Lot” is largely unsatisfying.
The main issue with the film is that I didn’t care a lot, or even a little, about the ending. An excellent portrayal of a con-woman? Absolutely. Did I care about whether or not she succeeds? Not really. The ultimate downfall of the film is the anti-hero, Marla Grayon. Although anti-heroes can be fascinating, Marla’s ambitions are facile, boring and hollow. Despite having issues with the film, “I Care a Lot” is entertaining and innovative. The Hitchcockian film offers a gritty and interesting flavor to its genre. Definitely a worthwhile watch for thriller junkies, but otherwise, a so-so film.