Not too long in “I Care a Lot,” a comic book thriller with a deliciously hard shell and a soft, hollow center. Maybe I wonder if anyone managed to get an outtake or two of ” Gone Girl ”Like this earlier story of crime and punishment, albeit with less blood and more glib, the film plays Rosamund Pike as a woman whose flawless demeanor and bright smile could fool you into overlooking some of her other attributes: ruthless perseverance, killer Negotiating skills and a calm mastery of long cheating Even Pike’s breathlessly cynical narrative seems to be channeling her “Gone Girl” monologist, although the harsh Hobbesian worldview she puts forward here could have used a sharper description: “There are two types by people in this world, “she remarks early on,” the people who take and who will get ”

Those are the words of Marla Grayson (Pike), a taker and proud of she runs a lucrative scam as a court-appointed (but really self-imposed) guardian for senior counties of the state and as such has a smooth demeanor at bedside and back the gift of coaxing others into submission, including the viewer. Even when mocking in our direction (“You think you are a good person? You are not a good person”), the insult is not even intended to shame us, but to set us free. Reject Get back, the film emphasizes, and enjoy the guilt-free acting of terrible people who do terrible things to even more terrible people and then let them do even more terrible things, and so on and so on until the hand of fate or God or the author- Director J Blakeson rushes in to settle the bill and split the booty

And for a while, at least, Blakeson makes it easy enough to enjoy, aided by a lead actor with an undeniable talent for subtle, conspiratorial villains. In this film’s vision of America today as a late-capitalist shark tank, Marla is an unusually slender and deadly barracuda with the help of Fran (Eiza González), her crime and romance partner and major accomplice in hospitals and assisted living facilities, Marla targets affluent elderly people who are too sick and helpless – or who can be brought up with a little creative paperwork getting too sick and helpless to look after – to get her personal business done – effectively capturing them, selling them of their property, and making a tidy profit for everyone involved – None of this makes Marla an easy-to-root character that would be less of a problem if “I Care a Lot” not so small ar wanted you to root for them

Being lured into a sense of complicity with non-apologetic bad guys is one of the film’s dependable joys, but wanting the robbers to rob is far from fueling the abuse of older people in the movie, the Perhaps realizing the difficulty of the task, preemptively stacks the deck in Marla’s favor When a plaintiff, Feldstrom (Macon Blair), protests Marla for denying him access to his mother, her well-practiced, level-headed answer – that she is better off taking care of her indictment as her own children because she is actually paid to do it – intended to provoke your indignation, yes, but also your laughter and ultimately your reluctant admiration.It helps that Feldstrom is portrayed as an insulting, emasculated loser with a violent trail , all the better that Marla does not position herself too convincingly as a kind of feminist avenger – and also prevents you from thinking about the human consequences of their trick

This intense initial confrontation sets a pattern for the rest of the film before Blakeson likes to underscore Marla’s audacity, her determination to win at all costs, only to turn around and emphasize her vulnerability, forcing her into deadly situations, without exception Her next unsuspecting target is a woman named Jennifer (Dianne Wiest, with small eyes as always) who is identified as a “cherry” in Guardian Grifter jargon – an ideal sign, with a nice house, serious savings and with no recognizable family.But not long after this perfectly sane, capable woman was declared incompetent and locked up in a nursing home, it becomes alarmingly clear in scenes that are inevitably seen that she is not the docile, no-obligation target that she showed up is

I’ll go through the plot lightly from here, as nasty surprises – and Marla’s uncanny ability to anticipate and sometimes intercept them – are part of the supposed fun. A couple of colorful minor players pop up, including a sleazeball lawyer (a great one , underutilized Chris Messina) and in time a powerful gangster, Roman (an amusing Peter Dinklage) who has a bad temper that he always seems to curb at the last minute.Much like Marla, Roman doesn’t really want the world to burn or that someone suffers beyond the required collateral damage He just wants to run his racket and make his millions, and he doesn’t understand why everyone around him insists on making it so difficult

He and Marla are cunning opponents with odd pairs, signaled by their physical differences and opposing vices (she ceaselessly vapes; he likes high-end pastries) But apart from the gallery of lovable villains, “I Care a Lot.” “Pretty much a one woman show for Pike, who works in a limited emotional realm, but in a limitless physical realm. In her courtroom scenes, she is like a guard who stands tall and never sets a foot or an argument wrong with one perfect cut bob that frames her face like an old war helmet. A later hospital scene she finds even more in her element: a nurse in high heels

In other words, more chameleon-like shades of “Gone Girl” – which, by the way, would have been a good alternative title for Blakeson’s debut 2009 film “The Disappearance of Alice Creed”. Here, as in this cunning kidnapping thriller, the director saves the mechanics of the entrapment and escape; he enjoys poking his characters through the wringer and watching them wind their way out along with his uniformly sharp collaborators – including cinematographer Doug Emmett, editor Mark Eckersley, and composer Marc Canham who is the synth-heavy Score – he forms “I Care a Lot” into a fast, exciting exercise in tension, the busy, driven, fancy twists that can occasionally flash satire or emotions

These lightning bolts are welcome They’re Not Enough, either. You’ve probably read a thing or two recently about crooked conservatories in the celebrity field Whether these headlines make “I Care a Lot” appear unusually topical entertainment or expose it as thin, opportunistic goings-on, however, can be debated. The film itself seems confused on this matter: it belatedly tries to breed a heart in its closing scenes , sheds his snappy, self-satisfied cynicism and jerks half-heartedly towards catharsis. It wants you to care, more than it wants to admit

Rated: R, for language and some violence Running time: 1 hour, 59 minutes Play: Starts February 19 on Netflix

Justin Chang has been a film critic with the Los Angeles Times since 2016. He is the author of FilmCraft: Editing and Chairman of the National Society of Film Critics and Secretary of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn

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Source: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/movies/story/2021-02-18/i-care-a-lot-review-rosamund-pike-netflix