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FILM OF THE WEEK I Care A Lot

MARIA DUARTE recommends a film about the chilling lengths some people will go to exploit the elderly and vulnerable — as long they don’t fight back

I Care A Lot
Directed by J Blakeson

 

“PLAYING fair is a joke invented by rich people to keep the rest of us poor; I’ve been poor and it doesn’t agree with me, ” says ruthless and crooked legal guardian Marla Grayson as she justifies her pursuit of the American Dream by scamming the elderly out of their homes, their savings and their lives — all within the confines of the law. 

Inspired by horrendous news stories about real life predatory guardians who play the system and exploit their wards, writer-director J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed) explores the practice as well as the power of authority and the process by which people lose their rights, their freedoms and control in this tense crime thriller construct.

It shows with frightening effect how easy it is to unwittingly fall prey to these criminals.

Rosamund Pike is absolutely phenomenal as the ambitious court-appointed guardian Marla, running a lucrative racket with her business partner and lover Fran (Eiza Gonzalez) until she is offered the perfect mark — “the cherry” — a wealthy retiree with no family or heirs.

She soon discovers that she has met her match in Jennifer Petersen (a fabulous Dianne Wiest), who has undisclosed connections to a volatile gangster (the fantastic Peter Dinklage). An intricate yet thrilling game of cat and mouse ensues as the tenacious Marla pits her wits against the dangerous mobster.

The film has a deliciously playful but dark tone as Marla enjoys being amoral and crossing the line — especially beating her male adversaries at their own game — as she focuses on becoming rich and successful whatever the cost. A fascinating yet vile character.

The thriller addresses ambition and how the world views and values success and delves into what moral compromises people are willing to make in order to achieve it — and the collateral damage left in their wake.

It asks the same question of our powerful leaders too, as well as those who have helped to shape our society. It is vital that we protect the elderly and the vulnerable from being scammed and abused because, as the film shows, karma is a bitch.

 

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