True Detective (2014) Directed by Cary Fukunaga & Justin Lin

It could have been a fever dream or a strange, creepy illustration on a wall I once saw: clues. You hear the hype and time goes by and you wonder why you've not put your toe in the water. True Detective arrived late to our lives, but once in we were engrossed, engaged love? Rust Cohle (as played by Matthew McConaughey) is one of THE TV creations, a character that not only possesses something unique, but a world view to match. It's hard to imagine the actor that so under-performed all those years, coming good on TV (and the year he won an Oscar too). It was always a career of promise, and people always mentioned that McConaughey was the real deal. How many True Detectives will it take to wipe the slate clean of mis-treads such as (drum roll): Sahara, How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days, The Paperboy, Surfer Dude, Failure To Launch, The Newton Boys and too much c-movie gumph to mention. There's of course been highs, but not having seen them all, how much higher than Rust Cole can McConnaughey go?

McConaughey as Detective Rust Cohle
But Rust Cohle only works so well because of his partner Marty Hart. Woody Harrelson's insensitive, sexist, boorish, confused and simple characterization of Marty perfectly complements Cohle's elusive cool. The two go together (and throughout there is a grudging sense that they know it). Writer and creator Nic Pizzolatto does much to breathe new life into the buddy/cop/serial-killer dynamic. So much here works, from great dialogue/acting, set design, style and a sense of creating atmosphere that feels unseen. True Detective is a new landmark series for TV. File alongside Sopranos, Twin Peaks, The Wire, Deadwood, Singing Detective, Prisoner. This could be a Louisiana sister to the excellent (and similar themed) Red Riding Trilogy. It's easily as dark.

Harrelson as Detective Marty Hart
But here's the rub: I want more Cohle. What happens next in his life? I want to hear that superior Texan drawl tell me something deep that I don't know. Season Two of True Detective won't be with these characters or actors, Pizzolatto will weave his stories somewhere else and importantly with someone else. Shame. Are you a long-haired Cohle or a short hair Cohle fan? You see where I'm going with this and how hooked I got with this thing? Take heed. This is as good as they come.

I went into watching True Detective guessing that I would probably not make it past the first episode. With suspense, crime and especially with horror my threshold is low and I usually opt out. If I watch something too thrilling or scary, I pay by having horrific nightmares and lying in bed awake freaking out about every little sound in our apartment building. The first episode of True Detective didn't convince me completely, but the second one did. Most of this convincing was done by agent Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey). 
McConaughey in True Detective
It has been a long while for me since any character on screen has had such an impact on me as Rust Cohle. He is someone in mourning, watching people through a thick depressed haze. He appears cold and emotionless, yet his actions are motivated by deep feeling and his words cut through matter and fly into the universe like spears. Cohle is a wreck – we see him as the younger washed-up man who has turned up in Louisiana after everything else has failed him, but we also see him under investigation many years later, all gray and even more destroyed. During the season the character's intelligence is juxtaposed with his self-destructive ways and finally with his vulnerability and reliance on his partner.

McConaughey in Interstellar
True Detective arrived in my perception at the right time. My thoughts resonated with Cohle's dead-pan seriousness, sadness and wisdom. I yearned to be shaken out of my own patterns and this piece of art truly shook me. I forgot I was on our green sofa and felt that I could smell the humidity and the dirt of Louisiana instead. I miss Rust Cohle now that I know he won't be appearing in the second season of True Detective. I miss him so much, I'm pinning my hopes on Interstellar. Yet, I'm quite sure that my infatuation is not with the actor, but with the character.


  1. Your comments give a desire to see this.

    I would have to see "Interstellar" again to evaluate it. I am presently fixated on huge tidal waves that cycle the surface of water planets.

  2. thanks for the comment Montag, funnily enough, I get your drift! And yes, TD is well worth a look.


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