Naturally, this story is going to get into massive spoilers for the new Netflix film, I Care A Lot. Stop reading now if you haven’t yet seen the movie, and go watch it!
J Blakeson’s dark, demented I Care A Lot takes a number of twists and turns as it unfolds its narrative. The Golden Globe-nominated Rosamund Pike plays the fiendish Marla Grayson, a polished and high-powered con artist making a living off of assuming legal guardianship over senior citizens who can’t fight the court system that’s wrapped around Marla’s manicured finger. By the end of the film, Marla has figured out how to partner with the one man who has been her lone impediment to global success, gangster Roman Lunyov (Peter Dinklage), and she is renowned as a wealthy entrepreneur.
Only, Marla ends up with a bullet to the chest, delivered by a man (Macon Blair) who had been bilked by this shyster at the beginning of the film. Karma caught up with Marla, and I Care A Lot eventually administered justice to the woman who had danced over, under, and around any sort of major consequences for her actions.
It’s a suitable ending, and one that many viewers probably anticipated. But when we got a chance to sit down with J Blakeson and dig into I Care A Lot, I asked him if they ever entertained an ending where Marla got away scott free, and he admitted:
In the edit, you try lots of different things and different ways. You never want to have an avenue that’s not explored. And we tried the other avenue, and it just felt too [strange]. That that could be how the world works, you know what I mean? But also, what I like about the ending… is that I think it’s the kind of thing that people think they want, and they sort of enjoy it, but then hopefully like five minutes later, it leaves a bittersweet taste in the mouth of, ‘Should I want that? Should I enjoy that? What does that mean?’ There’s conventions of cinema and things about rooting for people and empathy, and it’s interesting that it’s all laid in there.
I’ll admit, the ending of I Care A Lot left me conflicted. While I understood that Marla’s actions were sinister and criminal, something about the way she outmaneuvered the system (and her opponents) made me believe that she’s almost earned the right to get off scott free. No, you shouldn’t “root” for her. But I also think it’s OK for a bad guy to win in a movie every once in a while.