Hell hath no fury like an ambitious man scorned…
House of cards is a blessed re-enactment of political life in the United States. It follows the exploits of Francis and Claire Underwood in their bid for societal relevance and power. It exquisitely fleshes out the brutal reality of politics and the cutthroat nature of what it means to be willing to do anything to achieve your ends.
The writing and storyline of this show is phenomenal. The sub-plots interweave beautifully and create a rich tapestry of life in the capital, effectively portraying how media, politics and business interact with each other through the use of very complex and dense characters. This show is so dense that I could damn near write an essay for every major character in the show on their motivations and psychological makeup (maybe I will. Lol).
The level of attention that is paid to conveying meaning through the subtle use of facial expression, wording and body language by the characters (especially Francis who’s portrayal by Kevin Spacey has won him multiple awards) is astounding and creates a show so dense in meaning that multiple viewings of a scene are sometimes necessary in order to fully perceive and appreciate the multiple levels of communication taking place within a scene. I find it fitting that the level of concentration and attention to detail required to perceive the deeper layers of meaning conveyed in the show match the levels of attention required to succeed at that level of society as evidenced by the subtle ways in which the characters in this show constantly undermine and manipulate each other in their bid for power. In a world where appearances are everything, the levels of manipulation and contrivance that go into sculpting surfaces render the information it provides almost meaningless, making subtext and subtle inference the battlefield where real information is exchanged and gleaned.
If you want to know what it means to be a power-hungry sociopath playing the game known as society at the highest level, then House of Cards is a treat. This is one of the most intellectually and emotionally challenging, and eye-opening shows that you will ever come across. Highly recommended.