1. Ryan Gosling in The United State of Leland (2003) with Kevin Spacey
2. Kevin Spacey in House of Cards (2013)
Well, that was easy!
When the first trailer for Netflix’s House of Cards arrived around three months ago, I was surprised to find myself… bored. Maybe it’s because the tone of a series is hard to capture in a 2.5-minute trailer, but the preview really lowered my expectations for this David Fincher-produced series. I knew because of Fincher‘s involvement that I was going to get a great-looking series, but I didn’t want to be bored out of my mind for 13 episodes. Luckily, my gut was wrong. House of Cards is far from perfect “television” (what are we supposed to call this?), but I was definitely not bored by it.
If you have any desire at all to check out the series, please do not click on its IMDb page, which I’ve already linked to three times (whoops). The pleasure from this series comes from the slow unravel of Francis Underwood’s “revenge” plan after he fails to secure a nomination for Secretary of State, and the description on the IMDb page reveals a little too much.
Speaking of Underwood, one of the main talking points of many critics is Kevin Spacey‘s performance. Though he’s had several lazy performances in the past couple of years (i.e. that mess 21), you can’t say that he’s not *on* here. The question is whether or not it works for you (or whether or not you hate him). I thought that Spacey effectively walked the fine line of hamming it up and showing restraint in quieter moments. Will Spacey get awards attention for this role? How does that even work? I’m excited to see how this plays out.
But the real breakout role of the series is Peter Russo, played here by Corey Stoll (previously known for playing Hemingway in Midnight in Paris). It’s hard for me to imagine anyone else in the part, and he hits it out of the park. In fact, I’d rather Stoll get awards attention than Spacey.
So should you devour all 13 episodes of House of Cards in one sitting (like Frank Underwood eats his ribs)? Obviously that’s the model that Netflix is encouraging. If the show was on HBO or another premium network and I had to watch the show week-by-week, I would’ve found the experience a little less rewarding. I wouldn’t mind being able to binge watch more shows as soon as they came out. I might actually find myself enjoying certain shows more (Once Upon a Time and The Following come to mind). Though the last few minutes had me rolling my eyes, I’m curious to see where season 2 of House of Cards goes.