Marla Grayson (Rosamond Pike) is a poised and self-assured crook whose well oiled grift is to get unethical doctors to declare wealthy senior citizens incompetent and a clueless judge to award her small caregiving company her victims’ legal guardianships. She then proceeds to drug them to the gills, empty their bank accounts and sell their homes and all their possessions.
It’s all sailing along profitably until she gets her hooks into one such “cherry” (a mark with no living family or heirs) who turns out to be considerably less helpless than she appears (Dianne Wiest).
I enjoyed immensely the first hour of this film, anticipating just what form this evil woman’s inevitable comeuppance would take. But I was a tad dismayed when it morphed into a completely different, highly overplotted movie, about the time Wiest exits the frame. Telling you what it becomes would constitute a spoiler. But to clarify: dismayed yes, bored never. Pike proves once again with this subtle yet physically demanding role that she is one of today’s most versatile actors. The fact that she’s working opposite the great Peter Dinklage makes this a must-see.
The writer/director of this seriocomic, gleefully cynical bit of quality pulp is J Blakeson, who made the excellent The Disappearance of Alice Creed. Quibbles: I couldn’t help thinking the whole thing would have worked better had it been remotely believable. And I think it missed an opportunity to delve deeper into such heartless scams. (118 min)