Like many channels, HBO is on quite a hot streak in terms of producing original content.
One of the more talked about shows of 2014 was a relatively short mystery series known as ‘True Detective’.
The straight-laced Detective Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) is paired up with Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) to investigate a murder that appears ritualistic in nature. This takes them down a complex maze in the Louisiana bayou that may implicate people in high places. Can they succeed despite their vastly different approaches and outlooks? What about their troubling personal lives?
By being only 8 episodes, we are given a compact story that doesn’t drag on eternally like many shows. There is a carefully constructed arc that layers on facts and factors which impact the case and the investigators’ lives. You can probably chalk that up to consistency with writer Nic Pizzolatto and director Cary Fukunaga in place right from the start.
The fact that much of this story is told after the fact offers some hint about the show’s later twist. That robs us of some suspense as we see the characters 17 years after their initial investigation right off the bat. It is nice that we have differing perspectives on the events, though, and the unreliable narrators liven things up.
Some have considered the finale to be a bit disappointing. This examiner was fine with the fairly conventional nature of it because there was plenty of tension. We were given a satisfying conclusion to some loose ends though one could see how one might think that the buildup would have a more sustained and less abrupt resolution.
While the mystery is truly the heart and driving force of the show, the complicated relationship between Cohle and Hart is a big part of the tension. We know things went wrong between them at some point, but what? Harrelson is really good as the ‘by-the-books’ guy but McConaughey chews the scenery like it’s nobody’s business. His Cohle spouts of semi-stream of consciousness babble that is reflective of a disturbed, but astute, mind. McConaughey continues to raise the bar with each performance he turns in.
Special features include: a making of featurette, a chat with the stars, a talk with Pizzolatto and T Bone Burnett (the fellow who did the music), inside the episodes, audio commentary, and some deleted scenes.
While this examiner typically is bored to tears by police procedurals, ‘True Detective’ transcended this preconceived notion to live up to all of the hype.
Not Rated 480 minutes 2014