Francis Urquhart is too experienced a politician not to know that everything must end, even his long career as British prime minister. In order to secure his retirement and establish ... See full summary »
Francis Urquhart is the chief whip of the Conservative party. When Margaret Thatcher resigns as leader, he remains neutral and after a general election where the conservatives are returned ... See full summary »
When Ruth Matthews's husband is killed in a fall at an archaeological dig, her daughter Sally handles her father's death in a very odd manner. As Sally's condition worsens, Ruth takes her ... See full summary »
Tommy Lee Jones,
The Right Honorable James Hacker has landed the plum job of Cabinet Minister to the Department of Administration. At last he is in a position of power and can carry out some long-needed reforms - or so he thinks.
An elite firm of assassins must face their own mortality as they are hunted down one by one by a mysterious assailant. Caught up in the drama is a disgraced journalist who is more connected to the assassins' world than he could ever know.
A thriller set in London, in which a politician's life becomes increasingly complex as his research assistant is found dead on the London Underground and, in a seemingly unrelated incident, a teenage pickpocket is shot dead.
Called out of retirement to settle the affairs of a friend, Smiley finds his old organization, the Circus, so overwhelmed by political considerations that it doesn't want to know what ... See full summary »
Stamper confronts Francis about having a job in higher office after the election, like Home Secretary, but Francis rejects him. In the first House of Cards, Francis was promised a higher post like Home Secretary from Collingridge, but was rejected. See more »
Some elements feel a bit familiar but it remains enjoyably cynical and droll in its writing
Following his appointment as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Francis Urquhart is rather plagued by guilt over the actions that got him there, while at the same time lacking a challenge to stimulate him in the way his political rivalries once did. This changes as the new King of England decides to throw his social conscience into the political ring, and as FU takes on a new 'slave' to inspire him and to tutor. The King's simplistic sentimentalizing of the plight of the poor leads FU to perhaps underestimate him, while he also remains unaware of the presence of a tape of his rooftop meeting that ended the previous series.
There is a certain meanness and cynicism in this BBC film that is perhaps lacking in the US version, and this second part of the House of Cards trilogy continues with that. The viewer remains drawn into FU's world and decisions in a way where we are confronted by his cold maneuvering, and this continues throughout the episodes. This time the opponent is the new King a very thinly veiled version of Prince Charles; the reality of this power struggle is perhaps not totally convincing, but to be fair the previous episodes were fine to play up the cynicism in return for giving up a bit of realism. The plot plays out quite nicely, although it must be said that the show does benefit from only having 4 episodes and not the longer run that the US version has.
Outside of this, the series does rather repeat the model of the previous serial in that it places a young woman in FU's circle, sees an influential Afro-Caribbean woman playing a key role and also has a vulnerable male press role. It does have a certain familiarity to it, although mostly it does work on its own rights. The various plot twists and turns do not always convince; in particular the frequent bombings and the fate of some characters and devices go a little further than fits even the internal logic, but these are held together by the consistent spirit of meanness it has. A big part of that is Richardson's performance, which is attractive while also being repellant much like his to-camera discussions which challenge the viewer to judge him. Equally good are Kitchen, Aldridge, King, and Farrrell albeit that they have shadows of the previous series in their characters. Jeavons plays it well so that he builds from his position gradually and in a way that makes sense.
Generally the series works well because of how nicely scripted it is with a cynicism that applies across the political spectrum of all those involved. This is delivered with a certain drollness and a narrative that engages even if aspects of it feel repeated from the previous series.
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