LIAM EASLEY, TRUMPET ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
Filmmaker J Blakeson took a stab at a crime thriller recently, and that’s pretty much all that went down.
His attempt was a logical disaster. “I Care a Lot,” a Netflix-produced film, was not terrible on the cinematic side, although it wasn’t great either. Where this feature failed was in its attempts to be smart.
In fact, this was the most un-smart movie I have seen. There are movies that aren’t smart that don’t need to be, but that is because they don’t sell themselves as intelligent. Movies like “I Care a Lot,” on the other hand, require some external research because they do sell themselves as intelligent. This is what makes a crime movie hard to create – they require a lot of research, including interviews, digging through newspaper archives, consuming crime fiction, etc.
As a movie centered around a corrupt legal guardian who only took in wards to drain them of their money, this sounded like a Scorsesean crime plot, as the film was centered around the anti-hero. Of course, everything went south when the Russian mafia got caught in the mix, and that’s also when the movie’s narrative became obsolete.
Along with a rigid and oftentimes rushed plot, the characters had minimal development, and those that were dynamic had anticlimactic stories.
On the technical side, the film incorporated very dry cinematography and romantic comedy-like lighting. It didn’t look like a crime movie; it looked like a comedy. Despite being considered a comedy, this film was not funny at all. It wasn’t bad that the film didn’t look like a crime film, and it might be a trivial thing to pick on, but there was something about the lighting that did not fit the mood of the film.
The soundtrack didn’t help either. All of the music selected here, like the lighting, did not fit the mood or atmosphere of the film. In fact, it made it more lighthearted, which was wasteful since, again, this movie was not funny at all. It wasn’t offensive, it just wasn’t funny. At all.
If there was one takeaway from this feature, it’s that Blakeson was blessed with a stellar cast. Rosamund Pike, who played Marla Grayson, deservedly won a Golden Globe for her performance (although, this was under the “comedy & musical” category, which is inaccurate because this movie was not funny at all). However, my favorite performance here was Peter Dinklage, who seems to be phenomenal in every role.
“I Care a Lot” tried too hard to be a feminist statement. Every now and then, Grayson would interject a feminist comment, and while they were accurate, they really didn’t do anything for the plot. A true feminsit statement would have looked like this: here is a movie with a female criminal protagonist that doesn’t try to make itself seem special for having a female criminal protagonist. Save the feminist comments for the films that actually explore the topic of feminism.
Overall, if you want to watch a movie that is only entertaining and not smart, this will tide you over. At the end of the day, this was an entertaining movie. There were not many moments where I was wondering when it would be over. It just had a lot of really stupid moments and themes (SPOILER ALERT: like the part where Grayson and her girlfriend single-handedly took on the Russian mafia and won).