Will the David Fincher Remake of House of Cards Be Any Good?

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
Nov. 15 2012 11:19 AM

Trailer Critic: House of Cards

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David Fincher’s latest project, the political drama House of Cards, is a new TV series for Netflix.* But from the new trailer you’d almost think it was a movie. It’s not just because Fincher is directing (this is his first venture into television) or that the star is Kevin Spacey (this is Spacey’s first role on television in 20 years). It’s everything from the production values to the movie-trailer-like presentation of the ad’s end credits. The line between TV and film, the trailer reminds us, just got even blurrier.

Forrest Wickman Forrest Wickman

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

The trailer opens, bracingly, with Kevin Spacey’s Rep. Frank Underwood breaking the fourth wall. It’s the inauguration, and as Underwood watches the new president get sworn in, from a few rows back, he has his eyes set on clawing his own way into the seat of power. Spacey has often been at his finest playing a certain kind of soft-spoken, passive aggressive villain, the kind you’d never suspect to be a psychopath (in Seven, for instance, or another film from that same year the ending of which I won’t spoil). Now, fresh off a similar role in Richard III on Broadway, Spacey looks like he will once again provide scenery-chewing fun as a Machiavellian congressman.

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Watching Spacey may be the show’s primary attraction, but those teaming up with Underwood and doing whatever it takes to get ahead are also appealing: His Lady Macbeth-like wife is played by Robin Wright, and an obliging reporter for a D.C. newspaper is played by Kate Mara. Trampled underfoot is a representative played by Corey Stoll, looking much less like Ernest Hemingway than he did in Midnight in Paris. Fincher directed the first two episodes, which are written by Beau Willimon, the playwright behind Ides of March, and you can see his typically chilly eye in the camerawork.

For more of House of Cards, we’ll have to wait for Feb. 1, 2013—just a couple weeks after the inauguration.

*Correction, Nov. 15, 2012: This post stated, incorrectly, that in the United Kingdom House of Cards would air on the BBC. In the U.K. it will play on Netflix, not on the BBC.

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