With movie theaters in many states still closed, home entertainment has skyrocketed. Online video streaming services have witnessed a 26% increase in subscriptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Options for movie viewing are consequently limited to what these streaming services provide. So, I found myself with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s “The Tonight Dough” (perhaps Jimmy Fallon’s greatest contribution to society and comedy thus far) perusing Netflix’s top ten most popular list, and selecting, I Care A Lot. The film is one of Netflix’s latest originals, scoring Gone Girl actress Rosamund Pike a Golden Globe for her role as Marla, a self-serving court-appointed conservator of elderly clients. In the film, Marla runs a criminal scheme whereby she deprives the elderly of their autonomy and redistributes their assets for herself.
The film opens with Marla’s blunt sentiments, “There’s two types of people in this world. The people who take, and those getting took. Predators and prey.” While of course, the predisposition of man’s basic nature towards violence, aggressiveness, and predatorialness is certainly accurate according to an evolutionary biological perspective, it is incredibly reductive to characterize man’s primary attributes as such. It is even further unjust to say that a complexly-evolved chosen system of government that has actively contributed towards man’s transcendence of that behavior is what elicits barbarism. Marla’s character renders a deplorable view of greed and competition. So, the audience is quite pleased by the introduction of her adversary, Roman, even if he may be a Russian mob boss. His redeeming quality appears to be love for his mother, one of the elderly women abducted by Marla, so the audience vindicates him of his occupation in search of a hero for which to root. All hope is abandoned when Roman displays more concern for the loss of hidden diamonds rather than his own mother.
The rest of the film plays out purely as a power struggle as the pair take turns bashing each other in conniving games of manipulation with no true protagonist available to the audience. Tellingly, neither character kills the other, despite the convenience. Rather, Roman poisons Marla to the point of incapacitation and sends her reeling off a cliff in a car. Marla, in revenge, drugs Romand and strips him naked to be left in the road. He becomes another victim of Marla’s conservatorship scheme, and as he wakes up in the hospital to Marla’s coldhearted stare, the prize is clear: power.
In the absence of a clear hero and villain, the audience is pushed to direct their malice towards the system which supposedly facilitates the two evils. The film aims to push the subtle premise that capitalism is nothing but a vicious system that rests upon hierarchies of power and inevitably leads to the exploitation of the vulnerable. Left-leaning reviews applaud this so-called satire of capitalism, exposing the self-evident “amoral capitalist system” and the portrayal of Roman and Marla as “classic symbol[s] of American greed,” as evidenced by her unbridled success in the face of her sociopathic behavior. In fact, when Marla is shot and killed at the end of the film, it is the exact opposite of “randomness of the moment” divorced from the system’s apparent ineffectiveness. Marla is killed by the son of a former kidnapped conservatee, her death a direct consequence of the system working. Capitalism is arguably the most moral system that exists, as trust is a precondition of its success. If one breaks the rules of the game, their credibility is betrayed and no one will continue business with them. Shady practices may exist temporarily, but are largely weeded out in testament to the system’s effectiveness, just ask Enron or Volkswagen. Marla’s lack of empathy and morality lead to her death. All sorts of odious behavior will continue but that does not mean that by-and-large the system is broken and should be abandoned. Suggesting capitalism is absent of any flaws is as ignorant as asserting that capitalism itself is a flaw.
It comes as no surprise that about 98% of all employee donations at Netflix go to Democrats, Susan Rice sits on its board of directors, and it has threatened boycotts of pro-life states. The platform is a wink, a nod, and one more Obama docuseries away from a far-left propaganda-pushing machine. It is vital to be wary of the biases present in the media we all consume, as the realm of entertainment has become increasingly corrupted by political schemes and ideologies.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.