I Care A Lot review: American Psycho for grandparent torturers

Honestly, the playbook for success in America draws. You’ve heard it prior to: consume or be consumed, hustle hustle hustle, move like a shark, the competitors is working while you’re sleeping. This is, to utilize the term loosely, sociopathic — which is why it’s such fertile area for cinematic bad guys like American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman. In the brand-new Netflix thriller I Care A Lot, writer-director J Blakeson presents us to another: Marla Grayson.

Marla (Rosamund Pike) is a fully-formed beast of a well-mannered and decent sort. She’s a scam artist who concentrates on separating the senior from their wealth. She likewise has an effective system: a physician who will state targets unsuited to handle their own affairs, a practiced courtroom spiel that informs judges what they require to hear so they’ll select her as her most current target’s legal guardian, and a preferred retirement community that values all business she sends their method.

It’s a horrifyingly efficient grift that foregrounds the dreadful reality of older abuse, which most Americans are slightly familiar with, however never ever challenge till they need to deal with it themselves. Organization benefits Marla, since like any excellent grifter, she isn’t making any waves of her own, she’s simply placing herself into a systemic oppression the larger culture has actually chosen it’s great with.

However one day she selects the incorrect target. Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest) ought to be a simple mark: She has a great deal of ownerships, and no close household. Sadly for Marla, Jennifer’s kid is criminal offense employer Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage, looking a great deal like Jack Dorsey). Like any good criminal offense lord, Roman likes his mommy, and will stop at absolutely nothing to liberate her from Marla’s twisted web.

Peter Dinklage and Rosamund Pike sit in chairs in front of a bright window together, watching something on a foregrounded screen in I Care a Lot

Picture: Netflix

With its main dispute developed, I Care A Lot lurks through its two-hour runtime. Mirroring its lead character’s stable pulse and slick-yet-not-overstated design (consider her trenchcoat: a timeless tan affair that hugs her upper torso completely, yet falls in loose, streaming folds), it with confidence sets out the cat-and-mouse video game in between its 2 primary characters, their relocations and countermoves versus each other. It never ever totally attacks, however — while the dispute in between Marla and Roman does cap, the stakes stay reasonably flat.

This is partially since I Care A Lot paradoxically doesn’t have much to appreciate. As Marla, Rosamund Pike is incredible enjoyable, playing the sort of freely conniving lady that her character in Gone Lady subversively meant. And while Dinklage’s Roman Lunyov is an engaging opponent, he mainly acts by proxy, choosing to stay out of sight. So while they’re both bad individuals, just Marla has any sense of interiority. Pike works wonders to make a thin story feel full and satisfying to watch in the moment, but once it’s over, the thinness starts to become bothersome, especially given the arresting subject matter at its core.

There’s a meanness to I Care A Lot’s premise that is arresting and never far from the audience’s mind — in Marla’s spacious office, for example, she sits at a desk across from a wall where she hangs photos of her victims — or as the law now considers them, her wards. For brief moments, usually when Wiest’s character, Jennifer, is on screen, the film seems like it’s going to confront them head-on. But it always stops short. In these moments, however, I Care A Lot, is at its most compelling — when Jennifer looks directly at Marla and recognizes precisely the sort of creature she is.

A smiling Rosamund Pike holds up a tiny red mug as she stands in front of a wall of photos of elderly people in I Care a Lot

Photo: Seacia Pavao / Netflix

Not a “fucking lioness,” as Marla calls herself in I Care A Lot’s opening monologue, spinning herself as a woman wise to the fact that individuals are either predator or prey, and that you can choose to be the former, or consign yourself to the latter. That’s just the great myth of American capitalism, a wonderfully adaptable fable that can gussied up with #girlboss buzzwords to create monsters like Marla in the first place. No, she’s something closer to the truth of how you make it in America, as Jennifer realizes midway through the movie, from the assisted living home Marla has actually caught her in. She’s a goddamned vulture.

I Care a Lot is now offered to stream on Netflix.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.