Wednesday 9 April 2014

True Detective - Part One

Smokin Rust
I think I've just watched the TV event of 2014. True Detective sounded boring to me and the poster was hardly sellin it to me either. It was only after watching Dallas Buyers Club (inspirational renegade movie in the vein of Milk & Erin Brockovich where Matthew McConaughey put in a sterling performance), that I became sufficiently motivated to finally watch True Detective. This show is pretty much a philosophical debate thinly disguised as a Cop Buddy/Southern Gothic Horror drama.

There's a fair bit of "I'm Marlon Brando!" "No, I'm Marlon Brando!" where the two leads McConaughey and Woody Harrelson try to out mumble one another. Talk about actors pushing each other to new heights; they both put in outstanding, career-best performances. The script is dense, funny, thought provoking and unlike anything I've seen or heard on TV recently. There's a definite southern Twin Peaks vibe happening here as the show opens with a dead girl in the middle of nowhere, followed by the ensuing murder investigation. Not to mention diaries and esoteric/occult themes. The academics and theorists must be loving it, as I can see a million essays on what the true meaning of all the chit chat between the two leads really means. Which philosophy wins and who do you side with, etc. Nihilism, existentialism, religion, atheism, some cosmic supernatural shit and everything inbetween all get a look in. I'm still getting my head around the flurry of concepts thrust at me during the eight, hour long, episodes. Oh and apart from all that, it's a really bloody intense, scary and thrilling show.

Watching Breaking Bad you could basically ignore any subtext and just dig on the propulsive, event-laden, minimal plot - which I think I did. That show for me was ultimately pure visceral entertainment in excellis possibly never to be rivalled. True detective sets out to make you think from the minute it starts but this doesn't detract from the unfolding dramatic plot. For those of you feeling bereft after the conclusion of Breaking Bad you will be able to find some solace here in True Detective, particularly around episodes three, four and five where it rivals the predecessor's edge of your seat thrills. Other parallels can be drawn here particularly with Bryan Cranston and Matthew McConaughey both transforming themselves into actors beyond what we could have ever imagined them becoming. Sure, now I look back at Malcolm In The Middle and realise that maybe Hal was genius too but I don't think I'll be going back to How to Lose a Guy In 10 Days and thinking similar things of McConaughey's performance. Then again I've been reliably told he has been building up to this since 2011 with his previous six films. This is all a moot point, as they are now the two best actors of their generation and seemingly peerless.

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