I spent a good portion of my non-working time last weekend watching the first ten episodes of House of Cards. The adventures of Frank Underwood are in no way boring, but neither do they take you anywhere. You just turn the show on and it flows along like a river and you with it, gliding along like a drugged zombie. And then the next episode starts up. And then the next. And you’re a little older at the end of each one. An acrid, agreeable, handsomely composed thing. Definitely engaging but to what end? Chess, power, occasional sexual favors, pressure, manipulation, setbacks, tough words, grim choices, fourth-wall puncturing, etc. Sometimes amusing, sometimes a bit draggy but not often. But it’s just plot. Not entirely but mostly. Gobs of it. A torrent. And I’ve got three more hours to go.
I’ve read a synopsis of the final three episodes and have therefore discovered there’s at least another whole season of House of Cards yet to go. I don’t know where I got the idea that Season 3 would wrap things up.
On Friday night I watched that BFI Bluray of Michelangelo Antonioni‘s Red Desert (’64). It was my first time. I know the Antonioni milieu and had read a good deal about Red Desert over the years, so I was hardly surprised that it has almost no plot. It has a basic situation, and Antonioni is wonderfully at peace with the idea of just settling into that without regard to story. And I’m telling you it seemed at least ten times more engrossing than House of Cards.