Friday, 1 February 2013

You Might Very Well Think That... Netflix' House Of Cards Reviewed

In 2010 when Kevin Spacey spoke about his desire to bring BBC’s House Of Cards up to date and against an American political background, who would have expected the way the story would go? When the scriptwriting went underway, and the tenders of interest came in nobody expected an outside contender in the form of Video On Demand Company Netflix to be the company to come up with $100 million dollars to bring the story to life. Now in 2013 House Of Cards has been reborn, exclusively to subscribers of Netflix.

Having helped to get President Walker into power, Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) prepares to take on his promised position of Foreign Secretary. But the much underestimated political whip (the man that keeps the house in order) is overlooked, and the promise broken. Walker chooses instead to keep Frank exactly where he is. A man crossed, a man angered, Frank is not going to take this lying down, arranging swords for people to fall on, Frank creates alliances, builds an army, and will stop at nothing… even murder to get what he wants. 

House Of Cards began its life in 1989 when former politician created a novel that generated much excitement. In 1990 the BBC adapted the novel into a four-part drama. Audiences were thrilled by the fact that the man who held such power, could be so evil. Now we have the new lavish Netflix adaptation, which stars Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, and Kate Mara. The series kicks off in a fantastic way, covering more ground in the first episode of the 13 chapter series, than was covered in the original first episode, Netflix gamble to create a heavy impact succeeds.

The marvel of House Of Cards much like the original series is despite its political backdrop, it is not something that gets bogged down in politics. The stories and angles are easy enough for anyone to understand, and of course you have something much more powerful bubbling away beneath the surface, something purely evil. 

Fans of both the novel and the original series will not be disappointed with this latest adaptation. Spacey carries the trademarks that made Frank (officially Francis) such a popular villain, from his catchphrase statement “You might very well think that… I could not possibly comment.” Through to his signature move of breaking away from conversations to explain to us the audience exactly what is going on, before returning to the conversation. And then of course there is the thirst, the thirst that all FU (Frank Underwood formally known as Francis Urquhart) fans will be waiting for, the thirst that when someone has served their purpose they must be disposed of, regardless of how final that disposal is. 

The US adaptation of House Of Cards is a little darker, in the original FU was a kindly older man who is pushed to limits after being a victim of political events. Here he and wife Claire (Wright) are pretty unpleasant from the offset, they start as they mean to go on, smiles for the people, but with a self-surviving thirst beneath that surface.

Kate Mara portrays Zoe Barnes (based on the character Mattie Storin) the young inspired reporter like Underwood also overlooked. Zoe forms an alliance with Frank, who uses her to help force people onto their swords.

House Of Cards has achieved what many doubted; it has delivered the same level of intensity, the same darkness, while delivering some brand new spins. With David Fincher directing two episodes and producing the series overall, each episode moves from strength to strength.

House Of Cards is available to watch now to all subscribers of Netflix. 

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