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Posted October 1, 2010
...And be a villain
Let me get the mandatory Richard III reference out of the way early. Like the Shakespearean king, House of Cards' Sir Francis Urquhart is a charming, ruthless murderer who will stop at nothing to achieve power, frequently speaks directly to the audience, and gets all the best lines. Unlike Richard, Urquhart is a relatively complex figure, motivated not solely by ambition, but rather a fierce belief in his arch-conservative views, and that he is by far the most qualified man for the job. His murders and lies are all for the benefit of Great Britain, which without him would become a miserable, second-class welfare state dominated by the Continent. It is a testament to Richardson's performance is so charismatic and his dialogue so sharp and acidic, that you can almost start to believe him. House of Cards is definitely Richardson's show, he is in 95% of the scenes, and the remaining 5% consists of other people talking about him, but the trilogy contains many other great performances, with Susannah Harker's Mattie Storin in Part 1 and Michael Kitchen's King in Part 2 being clear stand-outs. Harker turns an INCREDIBLY difficult role, and one that in lesser hands could have completely ham-strung the series, into a tour-de-force. Her Mattie, a journalist corrupted and destroyed by her own submissiveness, becomes the haunting, discordant strings just audible under Urquhart's martial timpani. Michael Kitchen has another near impossible job, playing a king who is not quite Prince Charles, but clearly meant to evoke him. The new king is compassionate, decent, and popular, and therefore a genuine threat to Urquhart's administration. However, unlike most of the PM's enemies, he is someone who cannot be intimidated, co-opted, or failing that, quietly killed. If the second series, To Play the King, is the best of the trilogy, it is because in it, Urquhart has a worthy adversary, and Kitchen's tight-rope performance is the major factor in that. All in all, House of Cards is simply a great show, suspenseful, funny, smart, and centered by a main performance that ranks as one of the best in the history of television.
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The Rise And Fall Of Francis Urquhart
At long last I have finally gotten the chance to sit down and watch the trilogy of miniseries's known simply as the House Of Cards trilogy. Based on the novel trilogy by UK author Michael Dobbs the three miniseries's (House Of Cards, To Play The King and The Final Cut) detail the rise and fall of Francis Urquhart, a politician of the UK's Conservative Party played by the late, great Ian Richardson. To help you the reader decide if you'd like to purchase this DVD box-set here are reviews of all three parts of the trilogy.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
House Of Cards:
House Of Cards is a fine example of what the political thriller can be. From the performance of Ian Richardson as Urquhart, the performances of the supporting cast, good production values and a fantastic script as well. It is a complex story with a complex protagonist that takes a look at power and its ability to corrupt and how far one will go to achieve it and is a fine one at that.
To Play The King:
To Play The King is a fine successor to House Of Cards. From the performances of Richardson and Michael Kitchen in the lead roles, a fine supporting cast, good production values and a well written script as well. While it is not the thriller the original was and is somewhat less gripping as a result, To Play The King works as something else instead. It is a parable about what happens when the liberally minded and the conservatively minded face each other head on. The result is thought provoking indeed.
The Final Cut:
The Final Cut proves to be the last, if unsatisfactory, part of the House Of Cards trilogy. While there's fine performances from Richardson and Diane Fletcher plus much of the supporting cast the issues with other members of the supporting cast, some low budget feels, direction and script issues weigh this part down significantly. The result is a good but overall unsatisfactory conclusion which seems rather a shame.
Overall then, it's a fine set of miniseries's. There's three fine performances from Ian Richardson which alone make this set of stories the success that they are. Though the final part of the trilogy is rather unsatisfactory the first two parts are highly successful and highly entertaining. It's also a remarkable look at the rise and fall of one ambitious man and his government. If you are a fan of either political thrillers, British television or both look no further then the House Of Cards trilogy.
Posted October 1, 2010
Ruthless, Delightfully Evil
"House of Cards" is about a ruthless politician who is a master of manipulation. Devoid of conscience and morals, Francis Urquhart destroys everyone in his path as he meets his political goals. Wickedly entertaining.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
Posted January 17, 2009
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