There's always just something so appealing watching a film about bad people doing bad things to one another. I Care a Lot well and truly fits into that camp as a black comedy from J Blakeson with plenty of bite and attitude.

Poised with shark-like self-assurance, Marla Grayson (Rosamund Pike), is a professional, court-appointed guardian for dozens of elderly wards whose assets she seizes and cunningly bilks through dubious but legal means. It's a well-oiled racket that Marla and her business-partner and lover, Fran (Eiza González), use with brutal efficiency on their latest "cherry," Jennifer Peters (Dianne Wiest) - a wealthy retiree with no living heirs or family. But when their mark turns out to have an equally shady secret of her own and connections to a volatile gangster (Peter Dinklage), Marla is forced to level up in a game only predators can play - one that's neither fair, nor square.
I Care A Lot is one of those rare films where you won't find yourself rooting for any of the characters to succeed, mainly because they are all rather detestable in their own particularly unlikeable way. That's not a bad thing at all either because this film is such a devilish delight from start to finish, J Blakeson forming an intricate web of deception with one of the best screenplays of the year.

As a protagonist, Marla Grayson is up there as one of the best characters of cinema in recent years. She's so arrogant and full of herself, rightly so as she has got away with scamming elderly people for thousands of dollars over the years, which you think would make I Care A Lot a film hard to get on with but for the brilliant performance of Rosamund Pike, her best since Gone Girl

Pike is in absolutely scintillating form as Marla, drawing the audience in from the very off with her soothing voice providing narration and the assurance those in her care feel. Her steely manner and scathing tone works a treat when she comes up against Dianne Wiest's Jennifer Peters and Peter Dinklage's Roman Lunyov, who both really do give her their best back. The whole cast play their part in making this one of the best ensembles to watch this year.

I Care A Lot is a smartly written black comedy that takes aim at capitalism in such satisfying fashion, Rosamund Pike leading the onslaught with a performance that has seen her land a Golden Globe nomination. If this and Gone Girl prove anything, it's that Pike just needs to continue playing the bitch.

Verdict: ★★★½


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