True Detective Screen 7 articles

True Detective

2014

True Detective Poster
  • Season one taught audiences to feel original by thinking about our unoriginal feelings about wanting something new. It was a meta-show about being a meta-show. Like Cohle, we want to “deny our programming and opt out of the raw deal” that is cable bundling’s iron grip. Like Hart, in the end we need to learn that opting out of the contract completely is a bad choice.

  • The show’s time-shifting structure is so painstaking that even when True Detective spirals into lurid madness... there still seems to be purpose behind it. Every cut, music cue, and bit of dialogue-as-voice-over contributes to the sense that the show has a grand design, or is at the very least commenting on our need to believe that all things happen for a reason, that it’s not just a swirl of appetite and consequence.

  • Fukunaga’s work matches the actors’ performances beat for beat, creating a degraded, terrifying environment for them to unravel in, while also boosting the weaker portions of Pizzolatto’s scripts by layering in the swampy mood. In the series’ fourth episode—the best HBO sent out to critics—there’s a long tracking shot that’s one of the most impressive technical achievements in TV direction history...

  • You have one traditional cop who doesn’t like asking or answering personal questions and another who not only speaks freely about himself, but the area, the universe, our fates as mankind, etc. etc. He’s like a one-man Cormac McCarthy novel, dropping poetic, sparse observations the way most of us talk about the traffic or the weather. It’s a hypnotic performance, and anything Rust Cohle lacks in realism he makes up for in gravitas.

  • What if Nietzsche were a police officer in present-day New Orleans? More than any of his specific ideas, this is the question True Detective explores through Rust. Many of the early scenes in the show establish Rust as a harsh fatalist intent on delivering the news that God is dead (so to speak) to his incredulous partner. Not only does Cohle not believe in salvation, he disbelieves in love... and considers individuality to be an illusion.

  • True Detective engages the symbolism of the Deep South by leveraging the neglected infrastructure and environmental collapse of contemporary Louisiana for its aesthetic language, tonality and plot. From title design onward, the landscape and the ubiquitous oil refineries have dramatic significance on a par with the show’s protagonists as a nonverbal means by which contesting visions of American-ness are played out against each other.

  • Woody Harrelson as Louisiana cop Marty Hart with his angry underbite, interesting blood pressure spikes, and recognizable male jazz moves gives a performance that grows more impressive on subsequent viewings, while Matthew McConaughey as the former DEA agent Rust Cohle with his extravagant enigmas and bored-to-the-gills gnomic utterances is instantly mesmerizing.

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