557 of 582 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2013
"West Wing" gave viewers a taste of a White House populated by government folk who fought the good fight and had its citizenry foremost in their concerns. No such luck here. In this outing, the people of the United States barely exist in the minds of government. They are fodder for those seeking to gain, or seeking to stay in, power.
Here's the scoop. Kevin Spacey plays congressman Frank Underwood, a very bright, savvy individual who knows his way around Capitol Hill. He knows how to get things done because he knows what's in people's souls and how to play them to his advantage. His wife, Claire (Robin Wright) heads up a a more socially conscious organization in the private sector but is no less addicted to power than her husband. They have a peculiar relationship to say the least. This is almost a diary of the various 'projects' in which they are involved and how they play them, even when unforeseen things happen.
This is some ugly, scary stuff. In my heart of hearts I don't want to believe this view of our government, but I fear it is probably a closer take on reality than is "The West Wing." The manipulation of people, the press and other politicians will make you puke in your shorts. The relationship between Frank and Claire alone can only make me wonder what world they must have lived in as children that allowed them to grow up in a way that would make them think behavior like this was Okay.
David Fincher (one of my favorite directors) helmed the first 2 episodes and well establishes the color and tone for the rest of the series. There is a greenish pallor to it which gives it a sickly feel. All the acting is top shelf and a fleet of veterans are on hand to insure that. The directing is good. The writing is exceptional. This is as good as any series I've seen on TV. My hat is off to Netflix in that they didn't feed it to their audience one episode at a time. They released the entire series in one fell swoop allowing their viewers to watch it when they please.
This is a remarkable effort and I hope the ratings are such that Netflix keeps it going.
196 of 204 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2013
Kevin Spacey shines as congressman Francis Underwood. A modern day Machiavelli. There is no good and evil in the world of politics, only power. Netflix hit a homerun with this series. An outstanding cast, script, and direction. David Fincher's brilliance shines through in this look at the interworkings of U.S. politics. With some dark twists and turns and a nuanced look at people's ambitions and fears, House of Cards stands stronger than its title'd metaphor. Robin Wright as Claire Underwood is excellent and at times more cunning than her husband. Kate Mara shows great promise as an up and coming reporter looking for a fresh scoop. The rest of the cast is also very strong. Not a weak character or element to the show. My wife and I devoured the entire season in less than a week. Highly recomend.
143 of 154 people found the following review helpful
Don't start watching this series unless you have a free weekend, because you may want to have a marathon viewing. This is one of the most addictive series I have viewed.
The premise is great: Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) is promised the Secretary of State position in thanks for helping to get a new president elected. Once elected, the new president conveniently changes his mind and doesn't even bother to meet with Underwood to tell him. He lets his chief of staff notify Underwood he has been passed over, and asks for his continued support of the president in the Congress as Majority Whip. Underwood promises his support, but lets us, the audience, know differently.
Now the fun begins. The joy of this series is seeing how Underwood continually outwits and outmaneuvers other politicians who seem just as integrity-challenged as him, but less bright. And because Underwood has been skewered by the Prez and his team, you really don't mind when Underwood acts in a Machiavellian manner to get the better of them.
Kevin Spacey is mesmeric as Frank Underwood. The casting is superb. The dialogue is intelligent and inspired. You can't wait to see what schemes Underwood has concocted each episode and how they are going to play out. If this series is fairly true to life, no wonder our government is in the mess it is in right now.
Hope Netflix continues to create original, quality drama such as this show. HOUSE OF CARDS is only going to increase in popularity as more people watch it. Looking forward to season 2 of this series.
68 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2013
This is one of the best shows I have seen in recent times. The acting is Academy Award caliber. Kevin Spacey's performance is outstanding. He delivers the best performance I have ever seen in a series made for TV (or Nextflix, in this particular case). Others have gone into some detail on what the show is about so I won't repeat the same in my short review here. I highly recommend this show and I am sure you will be blown away by it. Make sure you have some free time as the watching experience gets addictive. You will probably want to finish seeing the whole season in one shot. It starts out a bit slow but it gets better very fast. I think Netflix really hit the nail right on the head with this great show. I highly recommend it.
115 of 135 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2013
The show premiered all at once and awed me enough to get me to watch the entire season with very little breaks between episodes. I highly recommend this and will purchase it on Blu-ray, despite being able to watch it on Netflix. The cast is fantastic, with Kevin Spacey nailing his role as the smart and evil Francis Underwood, the series is also well written and has enough twists to shock you.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2013
The Netflix original series "House of Cards" features some extraordinary performances from well-established actors, as well as a well-written script and smooth and competent direction. The real star of the series though is raw naked ambition, and how it infests and steers the lives and thoughts of the three main characters: husband-and-wife and partners-for-power Congressman Francis Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and environmental NGO head Claire (Robin Wright), and cub political reporter Zoe Barnes (Kate Mara). In their own pursuit of power and glory, the lives of these three individuals inevitably become entangled, snaring those who unfortunate enough to be in their way or silly enough to want to be in their way.
Of all the characters, Congressman Francis Underwood has turned the pursuit of power into his own personal religion. The series starts off with a newly elected president denying Underwood the position of Secretary of State, which motivates Underwood to dream and scheme for a higher position. Throughout the first season's 13 episodes he relentlessly pursues his ambition.
That is not true of his wife though. Claire is supposed to be his husband's true and faithful partner, and in one revealing scene she confronts a man who has always hated Francis Underwood for corrupting her. Claire then explains that she chose Francis because he could see her for her true nature, but the explanation is so violent that we as viewers must think she only says this to mask to herself her grave doubts about the grave she and her husband are digging for themselves. Indeed, throughout the series, while Francis is energized (buying a rowing machine and eating salads for lunch, as a consequence) by the political intrigue that he has unleashed, Claire becomes burdened by a weary festering but ultimately fettered conscience.
"House of Cards" is a political thriller with a not particularly interesting plot. What redeems it is its attention to detail, to nuance, and to subtlety, and the decision of the directors and producers to portray political power as honestly as mass television would permit. It seems that everyone is tainted and corrupted by power so that redemption is never a possibility in "House of Cards." The series also makes we viewers the personal confidante of Francis Underwood so that now and then he turns to us, winks at us, and tells us how the game is really played in Washington. In this way, we're tainted and corrupted as well.
"House of Cards" is supposedly based on the British novel and the BBC mini-series, but I suspect that the series' real inspiration and source material is Robert Caro's biography of Lyndon Baines Johnson's path to power. Like Johnson, Underwood is a Southerner with a gift for gab, for telling stories, for understanding the minute mechanisms of Congress, for reading people, and ultimately for corrupting people.
A lot of viewers will think "House of Cards" too cynical, but I think it's too naive. In real world politics, every politician has the ambition and amorality of Francis Underwood, but in real world politics no politician has his cunning and strategy. Evil may be banal, but it's also stupid, crass, and lazy.
"House of Cards" doesn't rise to the same genius as "The Wire," but in many ways "House of Cards" is far more entertaining and relevant.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This show is truly the scariest show I have ever seen because I don't doubt for a moment that so much of this is completely accurate about modern-day politics and people involved in political games. Although it is a well put together show technically, my husband and I have given up on it after having seen several episodes. The language in this is really filthy, about as bad as I have ever heard in a television show or movie. (I don't think I've heard words and phrases as rank and tasteless as are used in this show since I worked on a shipyard decades ago.) And the toxic, repulsive words and scenes do nothing to further the story that I can tell.
The portrayals of politicians and their coworkers are probably very accurate but the toxic language and dark scenes leave me feeling like I need a shower--inside and out--after I watch the show. The characters are so truly dark and repulsive, I find myself unable to shake off some of the sleazy scenes, even when the show has long been finished, like sludge left over in my mind. The Father's Day episode is the one that was just too rank and disrespectful (of the reporter's father and Frank's wife, as well as the viewers) at the end that we decided to stop watching after that.
It's too bad this couldn't have held back some because it could have been a much better show, dealing with the real issues in Washington, seen from behind the scenes. While accuracy may seem important when portraying real-like characters, do we need to see the worst aspects of people's personalities and all of their demons, with such detail? This show tends to leave me feeling sick and uncomfortable, not just from the politics, but from the creators' need to interject so much darkness and sleaze. Isn't it time for Hollywood to grow up and stop assuming that all viewers want is violence, porn, and depravity?
Intelligence, awareness, and enlightenment in the media would surely provide a better viewing experience for everyone, thus providing a more successful future for producers, actors, and all who have the opportunity to bring stories to life. Pass this one by if you don't want to see the very worst of people, demonstrated over and over by just about every character in the show. Kevin Spacey is such a fine actor. I wonder why he agreed to let himself go so low for a performance. I wish I could give this a better review but it truly does not deserve it.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2013
House of Cards is such a well written, well directed, and well acted series showing the double dealing, back stabbing, power hungry, manipulators,con men and women, and political narcissists, that is mirrored after our federal government. So well acted by Kevin Spacey that you begin to believe he really is the person he's playing. This series shows Washington at its worst,the underbelly of what we rarely see. This first season shows Spacey playing the majority whip in the House of Representatives,and his wife as a so-called leader of a charitable organization both screwing literally and figuratively to get what they want. That's not all they are capable of, doing, as you'll see, in this spellbinding tale as season one unfolds. Frank Underwood[Kevin Spacey] is almost likeable at times and as smart as they come. The supporting cast is very good Robin Wright is outstanding as his tall, beautiful, proud and cunning wife. Her character should,but doesn't come off as a person to despise,she has her vulnerable side, which can be very deceiving. This series is not a story necessarily of all politicians being bad or corrupt,but it does show a side that probably does exist.Again,a masterful performance by Kevin Spacey, this is not just your run of the mill program of power hungry politicians but much more and in much more detail. Highly recommend it.
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Kevin Spacey shines as a power-hungry Congressman gaming his way through the political system to get what he wants, alternately promoting and throwing others under the bus. Cynical, raw, cold but fascinatingly gripping, House of Cards paints a picture of Washington where good men go to die and only the most ruthless can work their way up the ladder. The series also boasts an impressive cast that's about as perfect as any TV series can be. Robin Wright and Kate Mara stand out though frankly the whole cast should be considered for award time.
David Fincher has put his trademark stamp on the look and feel - the sense of betrayal, loss and glossy decay permeate every scene. The plot avoids the usual trap of getting increasingly absurd (Dexter, anyone?) and instead focuses on delivering a complex, broad story that's much more akin to a great novel. This is an update of a British series by the same name that was equally excellent but there's enough new material that you wouldn't necessarily know they were connected.
Fans of political drama, Kevin Spacey or just plain good entertainment are going to love this Netflix Original series. It's actually the sole reason I reactivated my Netflix account -- apparently they are about to release a new season of Arrested Development as well. House of Cards is currently offered on Netflix streaming and the episodes have been released all at once so you can watch the season at your own speed, though I imagine a DVD set will be in the works soon.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 2013
This dramatic series just draws you in. The deep character development, rich story arch and most importantly politicians behaving as we would expect them to. The acting is top notch across the board and Kevin Spacey is a natural as an ambitious, ruthless, self serving politician who will go as far as using his own family and murder to position himself.
What is interesting is the addition of Kevin's character addressing the audience. Is he talking to us or just explaining his twisted moves to himself? This drama is a welcome addition to my library.