IF I DIDN'T CARENR
Clocking in at 75 minutes, the brisk little neo-noir If I Didn’t Care doesn't dig too deeply into its stock characters, but the whole thing moves so quickly and efficiently, it's over before you notice. Writer-director-producer brothers Benjamin and Orson Cummings seem like they're paying homage to those old crime pictures that filled the bottom half of a double bill, back in the days when you got a cartoon, a newsreel, a couple of short subjects and maybe some dishes at the local bijou.
In the tony Hamptons section of Long Island, forty-something Davis Meyers (Hal Hartley stalwart Bill Sage) is a preppy, trophy-husband layabout married for a decade to his attorney wife, Janice (Noelle Beck). He's an old-line WASP right down to his comfy moccasins, but lacks the Yankee work ethic that's a traditional part of that upbringing. He ostensibly dabbles in real estate while Janice spends her weeks working in Manhattan and coming home on the weekends. But mostly he just naps and reads, walks his basset hound on the beach, and hangs out at the neighborhood tavern with local old-timers and other contentedly dissolute sorts like himself.
One of those bar-mates is willowy blonde real-estate agent Hadley Templeton (Susie Misner)—talk about an old-movie name!—with whom he has a one-night stand. Hadley, rather a bit presumptively, sets her sights on Davis, and leaves an incriminating earring where his wife is sure to find it. When Janice does, the specter of divorce so terrifies Davis, who has no money of his own, that he's easily convinced when Hadley tells the dumb sap that murder is his only way out. When the wrong person gets killed, the philosophical local police chief (Roy Scheider) begins nosing about—and as they said in the 1940s, the weed of crime bears bitter fruit…
Lovely cinematography and an effective score peppered with 1930s songs like the title tune give this low-budget indie a studio gloss. The characters are more archetypes than real people, but the cast fleshes them out as best they can with bits of quirky business here and there. It's all an admirable exercise, if not exactly Double Indemnity.