I’ll admit that I haven’t seen a lot of Rosamund Pike’s work, but out of the few performances I’ve seen, I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s very good at playing a certain type of character. Amy Dunne in Gone Girl and Marla Grayson from I Care a Lot are both clever, intelligent, and able to use a system as a means to achieve an end. The difference here is that I Care a Lot is no Gone Girl.
Gone Girl is one of my least favorite David Fincher movies and I don’t think this film is comparable to it at all. But this isn’t even a fair comparison. They are completely different movies. I only bring up Gone Girl because Pike is incredible in both films. In fact, she’s the best thing about I Care a Lot.
Pike being the best thing about this movie is paradoxically a great achievement, yet barely one at all. She plays a corrupt legal guardian who all but preys on vulnerable elderly people to drain them of their wealth. This character isn’t an anti-hero — she’s a full-on villain.
It’s not bad to make a movie or show where you aren’t supposed to root for the main character — movies like Breaking Bad, The Social Network, and Heat do an excellent job at pointing out the immorality of the protagonist. But each of those pieces of media is making a statement about something.
I Care a Lot was on its way to making a meaningful statement about “the system” early on. It shows how the right kind of person can use the courts and the legal system to exploit those who have no defense. It sets up this idea of injustice where the elderly are completely helpless and people in positions of power — however minor — can exploit them for all they’re worth. Literally. But then the movie takes a huge left turn.
I think director J Blakeson made exactly the movie he wanted to make. I just wish he had thought of a different second and third act. What started as a very good crime drama that had me deeply invested and wondering where the negative reviews were coming from, devolved into a crime thriller instead where you’re wondering if Peter Dinklage is going to catch Rosamund Pike. This doesn’t inherently make for bad storytelling. It’s just that the movie started off on a much better track than where it ended.
In an attempt to keep things positive since I don’t like spending half an hour explaining why I didn’t like something that hundreds of people worked on for months or years, I’ll say that I Care a Lot definitely has appeal for a certain audience. It’s the perfect modern-day Netflix movie with twists and turns and the ability to have a “moment” on social media, and Pike without question deserved her Golden Globe win. The movie just wasn’t for me.