The House That Netflix Built

By Veronica Saroli (ArtSci ’14)
Staff Writer

House of Cards is corrupting in every sense of the word. I will admit to feeling a little mischievous myself after starting and ending the series over the span of a single weekend (no shame). I found myself strangely beginning to smirk and think in a sinful Southern accent, à la Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey. But alas, I’m not a corrupt politician in Washington but rather am one of the many Netflix viewers fulfilling the Netflix prophecy of binge-consumption when it released all 13 episodes at once.

The show centers on House Majority Whip Francis Underwood and the vindictive course he undertakes in Washington through arrogant political manipulation and Southern charm. It stars Robin Wright as his wife Claire, whose streamlined wardrobe of grays, blacks and whites gives a modern yet classic look with a hard edge which has received many accolades. And then there is Kate Mara’s Zoe, the pretty, young reporter, checking off the stereotypical box of the dissolute female journalist.
The writing is rapid and sharp. One is struck by each actor’s convincible delivery of clever lines that surely no regular person could come up with so quickly. Yet it comes across as believable and the symbiosis between the actors and the writing highlights the edge that makes the show so appealing. In the opening scene, Francis Underwood says “There are two kinds of pain: the sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain. The sort of pain that's only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.”

If that isn’t a surefire way to establish the unscrupulousness of the main character, then I don’t know what is.
Corruption in politics isn’t an unexplored topic in movies and television and House of Cards doesn’t necessarily shatter the genre; however, it’s the subtle nuances such as the relationship between Claire and Francis that gives the series more depth.
Generally the Canadian Netflix is not praised for its superb, vast movie selection, but the addition of House of Cards is something you should seriously consider next time you’re pondering what to watch.

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