So I’m predictably thrilled with True Detective, the new HBO series starring Matthew McConoughey and Woody Harrelson.
True Detective is unique in its concept and execution. It will run only eight episodes, and if it returns for future seasons it will feature an entirely different cast. All eight episodes are written and directed by the same two people (Nic Pizzolatto and Cary Fukunaga, respectively).
Barring a jaw-dropping upset, McConoughey is a few weeks away from an Oscar win for Dallas Buyers Club. Voters on the fence might take a look at his work on True Detective and give him the award based on that alone. It’s a career-best performance by a fabulous actor.
Harrelson, too, is predictably wonderful in a less showy role.
The two men play reluctant partners on the trail of a serial killer in southern Louisiana in 1995. Their story is told through flashbacks as the men are interviewed (separately) by detectives about what appears to be a copycat crime.
I’ve seen only the first three episodes, but already I’m immersed in the world of this show. McConoughey’s “Rust” Cohle is a character unlike any I’ve seen onscreen — almost sociopathic in his cynicism about the human race yet driven to punish evildoers.
The difference between his buttoned-down appearance in the nineties and the beer-guzzling wreck in present day is startling, and McConoughey brings nuances to both sides of the performance that have me dying to see how they meet in the middle.
Harrelson’s Martin Hart is a family man with secrets of his own and a soul no less corroded than his partner’s, just better hidden.
I’m excited to see where the series is headed, but bummed that this incarnation will end in just five more episodes.
The show’s opening credits are scored by ‘Far From Any Road,’ a haunting song by the Americana band The Handsome Family. A great sound and a perfect fit.
Her looming shadow grows,
Hidden in the branches of the poison creosote.
She twines her spines up slowly,
Towards the boiling sun,
And when I touched her skin,
My fingers ran with blood.
In the hushing dusk, under a swollen silver moon,
I came walking with the wind to watch the cactus bloom.
And strange hands halted me, the looming shadows danced.
I fell down to the thorny brush and felt the trembling hands.
When the last light warms the rocks,
And the rattlesnakes unfold,
Mountain cats will come to drag away your bones.
And rise with me forever,
Across the silent sand,
And the stars will be your eyes,
And the wind will be my hands.