ROSAMUND Pike channels her inner Gone Girl for I Care a Lot, an ice cool thriller from British director J Blakeson.

The star, known also for Radioactive and A United Kingdom, here plays elegantly evil con artist Marla Grayson. Along with girlfriend Fran (Eiza González), Marla has made a career and fortune from legally swindling the well off and nearly dead. No family? All the better. This - so-called - legal guardian is taking the lot.

Things take a sour twist for the partners in crime, however, when the pair’s latest target - Diane Wiest’s staunch Jennifer Peterson - turns out to be rather tightly wound up with a network of her own criminality.

It’s a brutal and very nearly plausible sequence that sees poor Jennifer marched out of her home, on a charge of early on set dementia, and shipped off to a care home. Moments later, underworld businessman, Roman Lunyov, played by Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage, calls her out. A battle of wills and firepower ensue. Maria’s refusal to backdown is breathtaking.

As characters go, Marla is a femme fatale with one foot either side of reality. Whilst only the sketchiest hints of motivation and backdrop might have appeared shallow in lesser hands, Pike brings a steely authenticity to the role.

Blakeson’s script is lean and to the point but scathing enough to take swipes at a world in which Marks could, theoretically, exist and thrive. Take Jennifer. Her protests of sanity fall on deaf ears as those who should know better dismiss her. After all, she has dementia. Here is a feature that drew its inspiration from true life cases.

I Care a Lot is billed as a dark comedy but, if this is to be believed, it’s cast in a jet black hue. Sublime aesthetics, courtesy of cinematographer Doug Emmett, complement Blakeson’s trajectory, while Pike’s hair, make up and clothing paint out a character ripe for cult longevity. Is it a bob or a helmet? The effect is the same.

After a well received Toronto Film Festival debut in September last year, I Care a Lot was snapped up on a dual international distribution deal by both Netflix and Amazon Prime. In the UK, the latter won out and leads the way. Make no mistake about it, with Pike in charge, this is hot stuff.