Friday, August 20, 2010

'House of Cards'

My wife and I just finished watching the fourth installment of the 1990 BBC miniseries, House of Cards, with Ian Richardson as the manipulative Francis Urquhart. Richardson managed to be both hilarious and chilling as he played the Conservative Party whip--"I put the stick about. Make 'em jump"--who murders, lies, conducts whisper campaigns, blackmails, and seduces his way toward becoming prime minister.

Even as amoral as Urquhart seems to be, throughout the series he often is nonetheless at pains to rationalize his sins and crimes to his silent co-conspirators, we viewers, to whom he confides everything. You almost sense that Urquhart is dealing with a Biblical truth, that God's law is actually written on our hearts, no matter how hard we may try to erase it or ignore it.

Two sequel series, each based on the novels of Michael Dobbs, were made, which I also remember enjoying back when they first aired.

House of Cards is as interesting and as deft a portrayal of the darkest precincts of human ambition as you're apt to find anywhere.

We watched it on Netflix streaming through our Wii console. I recommend both Netflix via Wii and House of Cards.

There are some very brief spots in House of Cards that were unnecessary, I thought: crude language, sexual depictions. This isn't family fare. But overall, it's not only entertaining; it's also insightful.

Beware of your inner Francis Urquhart!

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