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From left: Eiza Gonzalez as Fran, Dianne Wiest as Jennifer and Rosamund Pike as Marla.Seacia Pavao/Netflix

  • I Care a Lot
  • Written and directed by J. Blakeson
  • Starring Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage and Dianne Wiest
  • Classification R; 118 minutes

Likely inspired by, or at least highly reminiscent of, a terrifying 2017 New Yorker investigation into the ultrashady world of legal guardianship, I Care a Lot comes on strong as pulpy, comic-leaning thriller before running out of bloody tricks.

A film in which every single character is despicable, but some are more despicable than others, could have run into a sympathy problem. Yet thanks to J. Blakeson’s bouncy, energetic direction and a chillier-than-thou lead performance from Rosamund Pike, the movie is immensely watchable. Just not especially memorable. Or really sensical/logical/reasonable. You know, those kind of critical things that help a film from completely falling apart after viewing.

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Blakeson’s script exhausts its charms halfway through.Seacia Pavao/Netflix

Playing Marla, a legal conservator who smooth-talks judges and defrauds elderly clients with glee, an icy and constantly vaping Pike finally gets the chance to play a delightfully malevolent villain after proving that’s what she was born to do with 2014′s Gone Girl. And I’m halfway glad she earned a Golden Globe nomination for her trouble. And hey, the movie also has the always interesting Peter Dinklage, who here gets to play against type as an equally conniving mobster whose mother (Dianne Wiest) gets caught up in Marla’s scam.

Yet for a movie about slicker-than-snake-oil con artists, Blakeson’s script exhausts its charms halfway through, settling for a criminal versus criminal tale that will make you shake your head so hard you’ll likely to earn a migraine.

I Care a Lot is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video starting Feb. 19.

In the interest of consistency across all critics’ reviews, The Globe has eliminated its star-rating system in film and theatre to align with coverage of music, books, visual arts and dance. Instead, works of excellence will be noted with a Critic’s Pick designation across all coverage.

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