A thoroughly nasty piece of work

I Care A Lot (15, 119 minutes)

It came as a huge relief after 30 minutes of watching this to discover that it’s not the film I thought it was going to be.

But getting through that first quarter is going to be tough going, especially if like me your parents spent their last days in a nursing home. It took me three goes to get that first half hour in.

If you thought Gone Girl was as nasty as Rosamund Pike was going to get, think again. Her character Marla Grayson is a court appointed private legal guardian who targets vulnerable elderly people with no living relatives judged to be incapable of looking after themselves because of dementia.

Once under her guardianship, with a doctor and care home manager on her payroll she strips them of all their assets in care fees and her own salary.

It’s predatory exploitation of the aged endorsed by the state, it’s hideous and it’s happening in the US right now.

But Marla’s latest victim is not the easy target she at first appears to be.

Enter Peter Dinklage as a Russian mafia boss thought to have perished years before and it’s a testament to how utterly irredeemable Pike’s character is that it’s impossible to have any sympathy for her whatsoever as a violent death begins to look more and more likely.

For something billed as a black comedy I would have preferred a few more wry chuckles along the way to soften the sheer nastiness of this tale, but the performances of Pike and Dinklage are so strong it’s impossible to turn away, even if Marla’s refusal to accept her fate at the hands of organised crime is hard to find remotely credible.

What comedic moments there are mostly belong to Dinklage, but he’s certainly no stooge here in a story with no heroes.

As for Pike. She’s a class act alright, but we already knew that.

RATING: 7/10


Mick Ferris

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