March 30, 2023

DVD Review -True Detective Season One



True Detective is the latest show to come from HBO but for all intents and purposes it’s an eight-hour film. The show comes from the mind of crime-writer Nic Pizzolatto, and the entire run of episodes is directed by Cary Fukunaga. Fukunaga also directed the recent adaptation of Jane Eyre with Michael Fassbender.

In True Detective, Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) team up in 1995 to solve a bizarre ritualistic murder of a young prostitute. Other detectives question them in 2012 about the case, and there was a incident that pushed Cohole and Hart away, but eventually they have to meet again. Both men are pulled back into the dark world of satanic murders, evangelicals, paedophilia and a mysterious yellow king.

The show takes its inspiration from the weird tales of Robert W. Chambers, H.P. Lovecraft and Ambrose Bierce, along with pulp detective fiction and film. Fukunaga has also admitted to being influenced by David Lynch’s pioneering mystery series Twin Peaks, and this series is very much its offspring — in the best possible way.

The show is set in the Louisiana and has a Southern gothic feel that perfectly captures the decay of a post- Hurricane Katrina Louisiana.

The acting from McConaughley and Harrelson is spellbinding. The show completely rests on the shoulders of their performances, and both actors have rarely been better — which is saying something, considering McConaughley’s track form of late.

McConaughley’s Cohle is a nihilistic detective who has a serious drug problem and is suffering from hallucinations throughout the show. Marian St. Laurent wrote that Cohle symbolises the “deterioration and chaos of post-collapse America,” while his partner Hart symbolizes the dying middle class in America.

The show’s cinematic qualities come from the fact that has two well-established film actors in the lead roles. It was also shot on 35mm, which is sadly becoming increasingly rare in this digital age. The celebrated six-minute take at the end of episode 4 is probably the most technically impressive and thrilling shot you will see in any film or TV show this year.

True Detective is the most exciting, interesting and well-made program on TV currently, and I’m happy to say it’s been renewed for a second season. However it will have a completely different story and characters that, from the tease of a blurb, will be “hard women, bad men and the secret occult history of the United States transportation system”. It’s a show that could go in any direction, which makes the wait for season 2 even more hotly anticipated.

Ian Schutz

Crime, Drama
Distributor/TV Channel:
HBO, Sky Atlantic
DVD/BD Release Date:
9th June 2014 (UK)
Nic Pizzolatto
Michelle Monaghan, Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey
Buy:True Detective – Season 1 [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free] / [DVD] [2014]