Monday, March 10, 2014

True Detective (2014)

Creator:  Nic Pizzolatto
Director: Cary Joji Fukunaga
Cast:       Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Monaghan

The lives of two detectives get entangled over a span of 17 years as they hunt a for a serial killer in Louisiana.

The season one of the anthology format HBO series True Detective ended yesterday night/today morning crashing HBO Go in the process. It is the ultimate opposite to the Netflix produced House of Cards and its binge release model where the entire season is released in one go. House of cards is a great watch as long as you don't get much time to think about it since there isn't much depth to the story. True Detective is something which need time for the viewer to think, chew on and digest and the frenzy it has created in the internet over the last 9 weeks is testament to that. The brilliant title credits, existential nature of the dialogs, the mythical universe of Carcosa and the Yellow King and at the end of it all you are left with a feeling that they only scratched the surface with their investigation: which I think is very much intentional.

The interviews that Nic Pizzolatto has given over the last month helps a great deal in interpreting or confirming your interpretation of the season. The idea of Carcosa and Yellow King comes from Robert W. Chambers book called 'The King in  Yellow' which got a sales boost because of the TV show. It is a collection of ten short stories and the first four of them mention a play called 'The King in Yellow' which induces despair or madness in those who read it. In similar vein the case ultimately don't implicate any people higher up in the food chain and one feels that those who mattered escaped at the end of it. The detectives know it and we the audience feel it. Marty's daughter Audrey storyline is not taken up and there are many intentional loose ends which ultimately is the whole point.

Pizzolatto has also spoken at great length about storytelling and its importance to mankind. The penetration of religion is proof of that and the creator himself is an atheist who grew up in a very religious environment. In the show Rust starts off as a nihilistic atheist and ends on an optimistic spiritual note with the brilliant line at the end:“Once there was only dark. If you ask me, the light’s winning.” The weight of the world or the universal truth seems to be on his shoulder in the earlier episodes and by the end of the season he seemed to let it all go and find comfort in being spiritual which is essentially what religion do for a lot of people. When you are faced with questions, ugly truths and purposelessness, then faith goes a long way in solving all that by ignoring all the above said things. The same is with the case: they didn't get anyone directly connected to the senator and had to be contend with the dead end that is the death of the lawn mower man. The same thing happened with Reggie Ledoux in 1995 who before his death utters that these things will continue to happen. Rust also says the same thing during the interrogation scene where he goes 'time is a flat circle'. 

Another one of my interpretation is to do with the show itself. In the first five-six episodes it was a real genre bender when it comes to the buddy-cop investigative series. By the end it kind of tailed off which again I think was intentional. One can compare it with way the show ended with the allusion to the age old story of light Vs darkness as opposed to the real world situation of moral ambiguity. 

I will most certainly be revisiting the whole season soon looking for more clues. It is good that it will be having a different story and different characters next season. It can be really seen as an eight hour length feature film and the fact that it had just one single director unlike other normal TV series made a big difference in terms of its quality. In what is described as a golden age of television, I think it will be quite difficult to top this season of True Detective.

Rating: 5/5