Stefancos

True Detective

555 posts in this topic

Just finished the 8 episode long first season.

Really a gripping piece of TV with pitch perfect acting, excellent writing and meticulous direction leading to something truly splendid.

Builds very slowly, but uses that time to firmly establish it's two lead characters. Family man Marty Hart and obsessive loner Rust Cohle, and the downtrodden, deeply Christian piece Louisiana they live in. It's location make for an almost primitive environment. With many living in poverty after the destruction caused by Hurricane Andrew and later Katrina. Distances seem vast. The fringes of western civilization, where the rule of law seems far away at times.

It's plot, and story contains many aspects already seen in cop shows, crime movies, serial killer movies etc etc. Yet it never feels like it's following a formula. Even the inevitable scene where Cohle is put on suspension and asked to hand in his badge and gun feels like a genuine response to the situation, rather the an old genre cliche.

The show is light on action, but has a robbery/shoot out in it's fourth episode consisting of a breathtaking 6 minute take. Two other chase scenes are intense and creepy.

Like HBO's Game Of Thrones this contains both sex and violence, but never once feels like it's flaunting it. And the producers show admirable discretion when it comes to some of the topics of child molestation and murder. Giving it's viewers just enough details to picture something in our head, without ever showing it. Instead of being shown the contents of an old VHS tape containing what appears to be a ritual rape and slaughter, we see Woody Harrelson's character reacting to it. Which is really all I need to see.

As for the acting. It is uniformly excellent. With Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey disappearing into their characters, which we see in key points in their careers and lives over a 17 year period.

Again the concept of a mismatched pair of cops is as old as the hills. But they are portrayed as characters.

Stunning in pretty much every way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad you liked it Steef.

I'm still mesmerized by the haunting set of the underground tunnels in the finale's climax, which was beautiful in a nightmarish way. Just brilliant atmosphere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well said Stef, especially regarding the haunting setting. You wouldn't think much to hear that it's based in the depths of Louisiana, but what an incredibly atmospheric, unsettling place that turns out to be.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So Steef, by the end was it for you real world events in black and white case solved and closed?

Or do you follow my own thinking that they dug up something far more... evil?

Btw it's True Detective - not plural. I see the title as referring strictly to Cohle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Explain your theories? What more is lurking underneath?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it'd take too long to type it all up in one go, but I think Cohle uncovered something far older than he bargained on when he went after "The Yellow King"

Basically, I don't think the killer they apprehended was that being, but rather a mere instrument in probably a long line of them. I don't think the vision Cohle saw when he entered the belly of the beast was in his head. I think he was shown it.

There are other clues dotted about which suggest events were possibly wholly unnatural. I think Cohle believes this to be the case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah that's what's truly great about it, of course.

Which is why I so wanted Cohle to continue his mission of enlightenment in season 2. ;)

I thought he was gonna dig deeper into that murky supernatural world. Good versus Evil shit, the real stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did not miss it, Who. Indeed Cohle's metaphysical philosophies lie at the very heart of this series.

What the last episode did very well is make a staunch atheist, deeply cynical of anything to do with Christianity have a deeply spiritual and religious experience (feeling his dead daughters love as he lay dying in a coma) and not have it come across as some kinda cop-out, or religious propaganda.

I believed it. It felt right for the character, and enriched him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I think he discovered a sort of faith in 'something' by the end.

My gf is in the camp that doesn't believe it was anything otherworldly or ancient. She just thinks it was clear cut and case solved.

Are you and KK of the same line of thinking?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, I see what you're getting at, and I agree, to some degree.

The conflict as a whole was far more than just Cohle finding the bad guy. That whole brilliant sequence, I felt was to bring out the metaphysicality of it all, unravelling Cohle's own philosophies on life. It's why this case has been tugging at him, as if Cohle is met with the task of facing this great darkness, not just a creepy pervert.

But where you and I differ Lee is that I don't see it as a plot device, if you catch my drift. Like so much of this show, it's all about atmosphere. This whole show, through Cohle, has been so much more than just a simple case, it really is something much bigger, something more transcedental. A man facing a greater evil within and in the world. The visions, the creepy set, the monologues, the creepy ramblings from the villains, it all points to the idea that these crimes are more than just the offspring of a creep's individuality, but rather something bigger as a whole, which Cohle has been referencing to all throughout the scene. That final speech at the end (brilliantly acted too), ties it all neatly together as Cohle, a strong atheist, felt something greater. But I see it all as part of the overarching atmosphere/colours of this show.

To put it simply, I would not want to see another season with Cohle pursuing these otherworldy feelings or enlightenment. I feel that would betray what made this season such a remarkable singular achievement.

Hopefully some of that made sense :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well we know that in 1995 Cohle was suffering from hallucinations because of his prolonged drug use, but he claimed they dissipated over time.

Also the vision he had in Carcosa was unlike those he had previously in the story. A swirling vortex, reminiscent of the markings on the backs of the victims.

For Cohle this case had not been about catching a murderer, but combating evil itself.

The possibility of the unreliable narrator runs all though this film. Starting with the interviews given by Hart and Cohle, which divert more and more from the truth as the series progresses.

It's interesting to note that while Cohle has many theories about how widespread this conspiracy is. How Tuddle's schools are involved etc etc that none of this actually comes out in the end. Either the Govenor manages to keep things under wraps, or Cohle saw more then there actually was.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To put it simply, I would not want to see another season with Cohle pursuing these otherworldy feelings or enlightenment. I feel that would betray what made this season such a remarkable singular achievement.

I largely agree.

It's important that I point out that both Claire and I were aware that a second season was planned even before we began this one. What I mean is it was just assumed that whatever we were learning in season 1 would naturally carry on over into season 2, expanding the story further - with these characters and their world. We didn't realise or know till after we finished S1 that S2 was instead to be something completely different and unrelated. So that was initially really deflating - because I would say that my knowledge of a second season while watching the first definitely shaped my own take on what happened in this story - and so it was just expected that S2 would open it right up, the rabbit hole becoming deeper with each potential season. That sort of thing.

The style of this show, the writing of the thing, its sophistication... well I just found the possibilities mouthwatering.

But in the end I very much appreciate why it ended where it did and I think they ultimately did the right thing. Because the story of Marty and Cohle did end and now it is tv legend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A secons season with a news cast, a new envoroment might deliver another excellent 8 hours of TV, in a very different way. But I dont see how you can rival this one with the same characters.

Lee, you've been critical about GoT's use of sex sex sex, how did you find it here? I thought it was handled perfectly. Pretty damn hot, but relevant to the story. (lucky bloody Harrelson! ;) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The sex, as graphic as it was, was nowhere near as trashy, intrusive or as pace destroying as it is in Game of Thrones.

But I did think it did border on titillation at times, with just how obviously beautiful and perfectly built the Woody girls were. That stood out, immersion was slightly broken but nothing too serious and definitely nothing to really moan about. In the end it was important to show things like Marty eating that chic's ass, because it was there to demonstrate just how much of a prick to his wife he truly was. The family man facade crumbled into nothing in that moment.

The best, truest sex scene was that between Cohle and Marty's wife. That felt as real as everything else in the story did.

I feel this show was immaculately paced. Flawless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did Cohle kill anyone at all in the show? Even though he was the unpredictable one, it was Hart who executed LeBoux.

Interesting that the longer the story continued it became apparent that Cohle had more of a handle on himself then Hart did.

Kudo's to Harrelson for making what could have been a somewhat boring and mundane character so incredibly captivating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, as good as Mcconaughey is he needed Harrelson's straight guy foil to bounce off. Harrelson was terrific.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the look on Harts face when Cohle gives him of his usual philosophical rants....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hart suffers from that typical male hypocrasy where he is able to cheat on his wife convincing himself that it's actually inproves his family live as it gives him an output for his frustrations, yet the concept of his wife being with another man shatters him.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hart suffers from that typical male hypocrasy where he is able to cheat on his wife convincing himself that it's actually inproves his family live as it gives him an output for his frustrations, yet the concept of his wife being with another man shatters him.

Hart is just old fashioned that way ;)

I love the look on Harts face when Cohle gives him of his usual philosophical rants....

There was a certain look that Harrelson always gave, some kind of clenching thing he did with his mouth that bugged me a bit in the beginning. Not even sure why...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I what you mean with the clenching thing. Didnt bother me though.

Both leads aged quite realistically btw.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He didnt talk about how much he hated the music yet!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought the score was ideal. I even liked the gothic motif heard during the climatic scenes as Cohle entered the lair. 'Kingdom of the Yellow King', perhaps ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. Not the kinda film music most of us go mad about. (Though i'm sure Koray will find it "awesome"). But it fits the show like a glove.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually, I thought the music was suitable, much like the music for Breaking Bad. Though I will argue that BB's score is the superior in effectiveness and even memorability.

It's not the kind of music I'd listen to, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As Steef said, fits the show like a glove.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Karol was indifferent to the first 3 episodes. He said he didn't feel compelled to continue, but obviously this thread...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's ok. Well acted, produced, directed. I liked some of the visuals and the last episode has nice, almost mythical vibe. That's all I can say, really.

Karol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I genuinely can't get my head around how a person of taste could fail to be deeply impressed and riveted in this particular instance, but there you go. You were also non-plussed by Watchmen where I was, as I remember it.

It wouldn't do if we all liked the same things, as they say.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really glad you guys love it. But my search for brilliant television show continues.

Karol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now