HBO sent me the first season of True Detective to review, given its recent release to Blu-ray and DVD. Simple task, I thought, since I’ve watched every episode multiple times. But what do I say that hasn’t already been said? The anthology has received almost unanimous praise, and some of the highest praise comes from me–True Detective is a rare piece of entertainment, one that is unpredictable, mysterious, disturbing, riveting and superbly written and directed.
So instead of reviewing this show that I can hardly be critical of, I have highlighted the top eight scenes/moments/aspects of True Detective (the first sequence) that made it work so well for me (and in the comments section, I hope you’ll share yours):
4. “Time is a flat circle”
Even absent of everything else that happens in the show, True Detective could have worked had it simply been one long scene between Cohle and his interrogators. Matthew McConaughey is at the top of his game, and his musings about “time is a flat circle” and other theoreticals are entertaining, intoxicating and downright laugh inducing, in all the right ways.
3. Woody Harrelson cries as the camera fades away
The man with scars has been killed, Hart has been impaled by a hatchet and Cohle is in a coma, having taken a huge knife to the belly. Hart awakens to discover that his entire family, including his ex-wife, has shown up to see him–something he never thought would ever happen again. One of his family members asks if he’s OK, and he responds, “yes,” but then, as the camera fades to black, the hardened man begins to cry, the circumstances of his life finally taking their toll. For all the talk Matthew McConaughey has garnered, this is perhaps the best acted single moment of the entire show.
2. The six-minute tracking shot
Easily the most memorable and talked about sequence of the entire season, episode four’s six-minute gang heist sequences is simply spellbinding. Extremely complicated and beautifully shot, the sequence has more cinematic qualities than most movies released these days.
1. “Like a lot of dreams there’s a monster at the end of it.”
The scene that hooked me–I mean truly hooked me–was a simple one: the reveal of the monster, or at least what was assumed to be the monster. At the end of episode three, Cohle finally gets to a point (not the point, because he’s really not capable of that):
“To realize that all your life–you know, all your love, all your hate, all your memory, all your pain–it was all the same thing. It was all the same dream. A dream that you had inside a locked room. A dream about being a person. And like a lot of dreams there’s a monster at the end of it.”
And then the show cuts to a tracking shot of a very bad man walking down a road, wearing a diaper and a gas mask and carrying a machete. Holy. Fuck.
Couldn't embed any of the clips, sorry about that! What are your favourite TD scenes, ONTD?