Thursday, 4 February 2016

Can't wait until next series of HOUSE OF CARDS? try the Evil Legals in DAMAGES (2007-12)

A powerful, utterly ruthless, completely amoral central character who uses everything up to murder to get their own way, yet seems to contain a vestigial conscience?

Slick Fincher like direction and design, taking a well known location and giving it an evil HD sheen?

Gripping violent conspiracy thriller plotlines that border on late career Brian De Palma?

Opening sequence full of stark judgmental Greek statues laid beneath a very distinctive font?

Hey HOUSE OF CARDS fans ... does the opening sequences to FX's (2007-12) legal thriller DAMAGES look familiar?

Just swap Frank Underwood's Washington for New York and the legal system for politics and you pretty much have Damages, which, although looking like an effective imitation actually pre-dates (the US) House of Cards by about five years.

I discovered Damages on Netflix at the weekend. I can only assume S3-5 are terrible because S1 was great and yet I'd never heard of it. Damages Season 1 is one long murder strewn legal conspiracy thriller told with a lot of style and a few surprises, perhaps best seen as a long Fincher like movie.

Like House of Cards but perhaps more so it forces you to sympathise with  ant-hero against forces which are even worse. In HOUSE Frank Underwood has Raymond Tusk and Petrov - in DAMAGES S1 Glen Close's ruthless attourney Patty Hewes has as an arch enemy in.. Ted Danson. Yes UK viewers, , the guy from CHEERS. Perhaps this is why this show is not taken quite so seriously, a shame as Danson's Bernie Madov type embezzler, Arthur Frobisher, is a fantastic villain, subtly evil in a way that is worthy of BBCs Sherlock, a wonderfully nice and charming family guy on the surface to everyone, who is nevertheless a ruthless swine not far beneath the surface

Don't mistake me. House of Cards looks maybe slightly less original now but is still on the whole better acted written and shot than but Damages - it isn't light years ahead, and if you are that desperate for something similar you could do worse.

Ultimately the difference between the two is bigger budget, better writers, star directors and actors and a more interesting central concept (Richard III in 20th/21stC),
but for all that if you are hankering to immerse yourself in House's high power environments of vaguely sympathetic murdering bastards
(but can't quite plum the moral depths of far out depravity with HANNIBAL)
DAMAGES is a good substitute.