I Care A Lot. (2021)
There’s a group of movies and TV series that focus on con artists that is sort of a guilty pleasure for me. From “Talented Mr. Ripley”, through “Catch Me If You Can” to “Sneaky Pete”. This one tries to be in this league.
I entered the movie without reading the synopsis or watching the trailer. This usually gives the best experience for the first 15 minutes or so when the main characters and plot points first appear. I believe this is the case here too so if you want to avoid spoilers, don’t read further.
Let’s get one thing straight right from the bat. This is a movie where you cannot root for anyone. I skimmed some reviews on IMDb and it seems this is the biggest complaint people have about this movie. I disagree with that childish notion to always expect a clear fight between black-and-white Good and Evil for a piece of fiction to be interesting and well done. This is an R-rated film with no good characters. It doesn’t try to be instructive.
Girl Alpha Female Power
Rosamund Pike has range, as she’s been Jane Bennett in “Pride & Prejudice” but also Amy Dunne in “Gone Girl”. I haven’t seen her Marie Curie but I expect it to be yet different from the polar opposites mentioned.
In “I Care A Lot.” she is a strong woman and that is sort of the theme of the flick. There are a few explicit pieces of dialogue about it, best represented by this one:
You know how many times I’ve been threatened by a man? Thousands. You know how many of them ever came to anything? Two. He made threats because threats are all he had left. You can’t convince a woman to do what you want, then you call her a bitch, and threaten to kill her. I’m not scared of him.
As the story unfolds, at some point it does look like she won: the alpha female beat the alpha male, becoming his “legal guardian” after staging his overdose. However, in the very end, she “gets what she deserved” while the Russian mobster doesn’t. And that one was clearly shown to be quite a monster, involved in human trafficking for example. That’s sort of disappointing. You’d wish to see him meet his karma as well, possibly more so than Marla.
Suspense of Disbelief Needed
All in all, the plot requires rather serious suspense of disbelief from the viewer:
- the ability to close a relatively healthy person in a facility against their will is shown as done with relative ease;
- the entire “kidnap a mobster” sequence is equivalent to the protagonists rolling a hundred sixes in a row with a regular six-sided die;
- the Russian mob leaves a gas leak unattended counting on it to kill the protagonist’s girlfriend who is injured and unconscious but left alive in good enough shape to walk downstairs;
- the protagonist escapes death from a staged car drowning accident and maintains composure both physically and psychologically.
I gave it the benefit of the doubt either way since it was a pleasure watching the building conflict between Rosamund Pike and Peter Dinklage. And Peter’s stage mother is played by Dianne Wiest whom I remember from “Edward Scissorhands”. The cast is strong then. Cinematography and music are also top notch.
I guess that’s a 6/10?