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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Feb 24, 2021



ROSAMUND PIKE is a British actress we first noticed as a villainous double agent in the 2002 James Bond flick “Die Another Day”. 

Her other films where she made an impact to us are “An Education”, “Jack Reacher” with Tom Cruise, “A United Kingdom”, “A Private War” where she played reporter Marie Colvin and, of course, “Gone, Girl: for which she got an Oscar best actress nomination for playing the role of a very bad girl.

She now plays another anti-heroine and gets nominated as Golden Globe best actress for the Netflix movie, “I Care a Lot”. She plays Marla Grayson, a remorseless scammer who connives with a doctor and a judge for her to be appointed as guardians of helpless elderly people living on their own. 

She makes it appear that these senior citizens can no longer actively take care of themselves so she places them in care homes, draining their assets and getting all the properties for her own profits. We just don't know if this really happens in the U.S.A.

Her latest victim is a 71-year old retiree, Jennifer Peterson (Dianne Wiest), with no relatives. As usual, the judge appoints her as the old woman’s guardian, she deposits her in an old folks home and ransacks the things she left behind. Marla discovers millions of dollars worth of diamond in Jennifer’s safety deposit box. 

But things get complicated when it turns out that Jennifer is actually the mother of a Russian crime lord, Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage of “Game of Thrones”), who tries everything legal to get his mother back.

When this doesn’t work, Lunyov sends his henchmen to use force to get into the assisted living facility and get his mom, but Marla and the police come on nick of time to stop them.

When the doctor she’s colluding with is killed, Marla realizes her life and also that of her lesbian lover, Fran (Eiza Gonzalez), who she passionately cares for, are in grave danger. She sends Jennifer to a more restricted psychiatric hospital. 

She’s about to leave and hide, but Lunyov’s men gets Fran and beats her up. They also try to set up Marla’s death by crashing her car into a lake. 

But Marla gets to free herself from being drowned and it’s now her turn to retaliate and protect herself and Fran from Lunyov and his men. She gets to kidnap Lunyov, drugs him and leaves him naked in the middle of the road where he is rescued by cops. 

He becomes a John Doe as they cannot establish his identity. Marla then manipulates the court again for her to be appointed as Lunyov’s legal guardian.

You’d think the film ends here, with Marla getting retribution for what the Russian crime boss did to her. But there’s more. 

We won’t get into anymore details but things get even worse from here and the wickedness of the characters gets even more magnified. 

The main reason to see the movie is Pike’s high calibre performance. She really hits another home run as Marla, but we honestly feel so uncomfortable watching her character as a con artist. 

She has no qualms about exploiting old people for her own selfish motives and that make the film’s “I Care a Lot” title truly very ironic. 

For a while, we thought she’d get to redeem herself when she starts fighting for her own life, but then, it turns out that this is just a very dark film where there is no one you could root or cheer for since all the characters are simply greedy and evil. 

But although Pike’s sociopathic Marla is detestable for her dark schemes, there’s no denying that she gives a very powerful portrayal with calculated malice and on-spot amorality as the lioness, never the lamb. 

It will say a lot about you if you would claim that you could relate at all to her character. Pike is well supported by Wiest and Dinklage as perfect foils to Marla. 

The film is from writer director J Blakeson, who helmed the sci-fi film “The Fifth Wave”. We thought he would go all out morally and chillingly bleak up to the outrageous end, but he cops out by giving Marla, a character so vile, an exit that she justifiably deserves. 

Somehow, we feel, this ending weakened the film’s impact, just to make it an easier pill to swallow for viewers who want to be reassured that everything is all right in this world. 

We do think the horrifying characters here, who definitely represent the worst in human nature, all deserve a much worse fate, but it would have been more gleefully warped and wicked fun if Marla just got away with it.