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I Care a Lot Movie Review - Cruel Intentions

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Rosamund Pike shines in J Blakeson's wickedly entertaining cat-and-mouse game. 

There are two kinds of love found in J Blakeson's lip-smacking comedy-thriller I Care a Lot. The first one is quite common: a woman, after defying death, circles back to a loved one instead of choosing to run away from the danger. The second one is more restraint: a man is unable to rescue a loved one who stands within a few meters away from him. He chooses to drive off. Both the man and the woman deeply care for their respective loved ones. The correlation extends beyond this affection. These two are crooked people running nefarious businesses - one legally and another illegally. She preys on elders by convincing the judge that they are not in the mental state to look after themselves. The judge, in turn, appoints her the legal guardian, after which she moves them to a care facility. This allows the woman to milk money out of the old people by selling their home and other assets. The man, on the other hand, is an ex-Russian mob boss. Enough said. It's only a matter of time until these two parallel lines confront each other. 

The woman is Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike). She has worked as a con woman for so long that she has developed a shield against hateful rants. Marla takes threats directed towards her with a grain of salt. She is immune to verbal rubbish. If you want to boil her blood, then you have to do some kind of physical activity. A man abuses her outside the court, but Marla barely raises her brow. However, when he spits on her face, she charges on him with an irate temper. In a way, it all makes sense because when we first see Marla, she is presented to us with perfection. Her hair is neatly cropped and aligned. She is seen sitting with composure and displays tenderness in her voice. Her whole facade rests on friendly gestures. When the man spits on her, he "spoils" the deceptive cover, which would naturally vex her.

Talking of being misled by outer appearances. The radiant, eye-popping colors gloss over the shades of grey at the film's core. Jennifer initially appears to be another meek old woman but later reveals surprising secrets to us. Roman's towering image is undercut by his short stature. The staff at the facility fool their patients with smiling gesticulations. The title itself betrays us with its compassionate appellation. The idiom "don't judge a book by its cover" was probably made for I Care a Lot.      

Pike is a genius; she is a treat to watch. Gone Girl showed us how scary this enchanting lady can be. Blakeson retains the manipulation and packages it into a scandalous setting. Pike's cunning eyes and her sly smile portray a relentless woman who has been reincarnated as a guileful demon. Notice her gleaming with delight when someone offers a deal to expand her diabolical career. If there is a soft spot, it exists for immense wealth and her girlfriend Fran (Eiza González). Otherwise, Marla is greedy. She craves cash as if it is an appetizing food waiting for her consumption. She is a snake, and soon she will end up biting her own tail. After all, it was Rumi who said that - "Greed makes man blind and foolish, and makes him an easy prey for death." Marla's death arrives in the form of that ex-Russian mob boss, Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage); when blinded by greed, she unknowingly goes after Roman's mother, Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), thinking of her as a "cherry" case (no family, no problem in extracting money). 

After laying everything on the table, I Care a Lot turns into a cat-and-mouse game. Both the cat and the mouse are criminals. Although, there is a slight chance you may find yourself rooting for Roman. From the beginning, we walk with Marla and hence, are more repulsed by her actions. Roman is not given much of the screen time, which diminishes his contemptible profession. When you closely examine, Roman deserves to be more hated as he encourages illegal dealings, including trafficking of girls. Marla, in comparison, relocates older people into facilities, albeit using deceit. Morally, the two of them are wrong and deserve punishment. One of the pleasures of watching I Care a Lot is that you get to witness sinful human beings outmaneuvering one another. And once you start to treat both of them as equally wicked, you are freed from taking sides and, in lieu, relish the tricks employed by them to outsmart the other opponent. 

Roman and his men contribute to the humor. The character of Roman could have been downright atrocious, but Dinklage introduces subtle comical antics in his manners. He grumbles in just the right way, operating between seriousness and exaggeration. When one of his informants comes bearing bad news, he throws objects at him like a disgruntled little kid who has been denied his favorite toy at a fair. He is not meant to be taken gravely, something both Dinklage and I Care a Lot are aware of. It is to the actor's credit that he never reduces Roman to a clown or a doltish caricature.

You groan when a murder is made to look accidental. Why do the villains always take the long route towards execution? By now, they should stop throwing cars into the pool of water. And please stop trusting your sedatives. They break their spell in the nick of time. But as I Care a Lot continues its movement, you understand why it chose the "long route." All said and done, this is also a tale of karma. The funny thing about karma is that it strikes when you least expect it to. I Care a Lot has fun with bad people and their pursuits, but it also has a moral consciousness. It sure knows how to hide and when to reveal things from under its sleeves.     

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from Movie Reviews https://moviesinmydna.blogspot.com/2021/02/i-care-lot-movie-review-cruel-intentions.html

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