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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

a few thoughts on House of Cards S4 (and open thread)


I have just spent the weekend binging the new season of House of Cards on Netflix. It has been a glorious couple of days. I continue to adore this show from many angles. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright continue to be worshippable, and I am delighted to see how very good Joel Kinnaman is in this (as Frank Underwood’s Republican rival in the 2016 U.S. presidential race). I’ve been a fan of Kinnaman’s since the American version of The Killing, but he hasn’t had a role since then that has come anywhere near the complexity of that one… and this is a huge leap beyond. He’s amazing here. I love how riveting all the people here are, but particularly Frank and Clare, how they constantly challenge your sympathy: just when you’re certain they are utterly awful, monstrous people, a glimmer of humanity shines out, if only for a moment.

But this is also a hugely depressing story. I would love to call it cynical, but I suspect it’s all too realistic. Do we even have a democracy? I doubt it.

Now we wait another year for Season 5, I guess. Argh.

Please feel free to discuss the show in depth in the comments below… and assume that those comments are full of spoilers.

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