CWM

Kevin Spacey Plays With Cards

In Television on February 4, 2013 at 10:18 am

And no, this review doesn’t concern “21” the movie involving car counting, Jim Sturgess, and Kevin Spacey. This review concerns the new show “House of Cards” a Netflix production directed by David Fincher.

Surprised by this show? You should be. I didn’t hear anything about this show until I saw an ad for it on Netflix. I watched the first few episodes interested, and then I found myself captivated.

“House of Cards” is the anti- “West Wing”, which is great because Netflix has the entire “West Wing” series and you can literally compare the two. Where Sorkin is hopefully, displaying a profound belief in government, Fincher is not. He shows back door dealing, blackmailing, drugs, sex, and the power of the internet. Where the “West Wing” is powerful displaying this wonderful message of what government could be and should be, “House of Cards” is that reality.

Kevin Spacey plays Frank Underwood, the House Majority Whip, meaning he keeps his party in line, who believes that his dreams of working within the White House have been made a reality. Sadly, this is not the case. Underwood is told by President Garrett Walker, played by Michael Gill, that he will not be Secretary of State despite getting Walker elected as well as his Chief of Staff Linda Vasquez, played by Sakina Jeffrey, her job. Underwood works with his wife Claire Underwood, played by Robin Wright, and Zoe Barnes,  played by Kate Mara,an unsatisfied Twitter obsessed journalist at the Washington Herald, to begin, what I believe, is his attempt to become the President. Underwood uses blackmailing tactics, sex, and the release of information to push his agenda which is to halt or change whatever it is that President Walker wants done.

Kevin Spacey plays this southern politician disturbingly well, shocking the audience from the very beginning. He also breaks the fourth wall, looking directly into the camera to convene with the audience his thoughts and beliefs, regarding what is currently happening. Don Cheadle commits this same act in “House of Lies” but Spacey’s is so much darker, talking to the audience in that reassuringly slow southern accent, putting a spin on whatever he is doing.

Robin Wright is great as Spacey’s equal, both of them appear to be powerful, unapologetic, and terrifying. At one point, Claire even pushes Frank to do something and despite him proclaiming that he will not be controlled, he is controlled. Their relationship is extremely captivating, showing moments where they are honest and open with one another where others might not have been. I am only on episode four, but the relationship between these two is something I feel compelled to see until the very end.

Kate Mara is good, although there are a few instances where I felt her character would benefit from a little more explanation, a little more development. Don’t get me wrong, her character is interesting but I feel that her connection with Underwood is a little forced. I do like her use of the internet to get what she wants, I think this is a great critique as to what is becoming news now a days and how everything can be made public in a matter of seconds. I am intrigued to see what happens to her has the show progresses.

Corey Stoll, playing Senator Russo a pawn that is harshly used by Underwood, also does a great job within this show. His resemblance to Paul Scheer, of “The League” is creepy at times, given the role he has within this show, but he does a wonderful job showing what happens when you put a man between a rock and a hard place. This is, I believe, that first time I have seen this actor but he does a damn good job.

Also worth noting, is that this show doesn’t feel like a show. Rather it feels like an extremely long movie cut into several parts. I think this is an aspect of both, David Fincher’s directing and the fact that you can make it one long movie because it is on Netflix. This aspect of it, makes it a damn good show.

If you like political dramas, Kevin Spacey, and a more realistic view on politics, compared to the “West Wing”, watch this show. It is captivating and phenomenally directed.

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