Saturday, February 16, 2013

House of Cards

Kevin Spacey is a wonderful actor.  Watchinig one of his performances is a whole chapter in the actor's book on the use of timing.  His like some actors is a very individualist talent.  He's just not the type of actor  that can fade into a role.  That is why it is to his (and ours) good fortune that he found the role of Congressman Francis Underwood in Netflix's "House of Cards."

Based on a series of books by Michael Dobb the series is about Francis' grab for power in Washington and the people he ruins.  It's certainly not a naked grab, he's incredibly charming and is both subtle and patient.  He works his way so that often as not his victims come to him asking for his help not realizing he is the cause of their problems.  Inwardly, he's a cold cold man who's only real passion is his hunger for whatever he wants.  His often partner in crime is his wife who is as seemingly cold as he is.  Their relationship is an interesting thing in that at first glance it looks like a loveless marriage of convenience and yet Spacey will turn to us the audience and tell us "I love her more than a shark loves blood."

These breaking of the fourth wall in the series not only give us hints of what Francis is really thinking, but also brings us into his camp even though we shouldn't be cheering the games he plays with the lives of so many people.  It's as if he is taking us in his confidence, teaching us how to play.  It makes the audience feel important.  It's as much as a con as everything else Francis does, but it works.

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