HBO’s ‘True Detective’ Season 1: Episode 1

It is no secret that Matthew McConaughey has been challenging himself by expanding his acting potential, and it is more than just potential. He is delivering one great performance after the next. I used to count on seeing his new romantic comedy releases, because he had mastered that role and we all know it. It’s what he is known for, or what he was known for. He has kept busy the last couple years developing his new persona, and body for that matter. But, now we can see him apart from the big screen, where he now stars on the new HBO Series True Detective, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga.

After watching the first episode we know a lot about his character, Rust Cohle. But, it is evident we have so much more to experience with him. In simple terms, he seems pretty messed up. The viewers learned that he is unusually smart, challenging, lonely, and pessimistic. Many of these characteristics have likely developed from the loss of his daughter when she was only a baby. This tragedy broke apart the marriage he once had. The show doesn’t actually show this segment of his life, but you can read it all over his face.

I would say it goes unsaid, just by looking at the title of the series, but Rust Cohle and his partner Martin Hart, played by Woody Harrelson, are detectives. Honestly, I don’t believe they could have cast the show any better. These country-born actors are a perfect pair. The season opener begins with what seems like the cracking of a new murder mystery. But, we soon realize they are showing us the past. The entire story is basically narrated by their older, less attractive selves. It doesn’t seem like they are friends in the present, and even what we see of them initially working together on the case in 1995 doesn’t appear to be the start of a promising partnership.

Martin Hart actually feels bad for Rust after seeing his stale, empty, apartment. But, then he really gets a glimpse of what a nut job this guy actually is. At one point Rust actually says that humans should just “walk hand in hand into extinction.” He begs him to quit talking; he has heard enough. All in all, it seems as though Rust really is trying to have some control over his life by doing his best to stay away from alcohol and focus on his investigation. But, when it flashes to him being interviewed in 2012 about the ’95 case, he looks gray and washed up. It seems like every time I look, Matthew McConaughey is making himself look worse and worse for his roles. He is clearly an alcoholic in the present day and has zero cares about the world and who’s in it.

If you go into the first episode knowing nothing, as I did, you don’t leave understanding what the plot line will be. It’s hard to know if that is the format of the entire season or if it is just a soft opening to something else. Which time period will it stay in, 1995 or 2012, or will it remain in limbo? It’s not exactly clear.

I look forward to catching up on the next couple episodes. The ratings are looking good for True Detective, and I have a feeling the season will build into something spectacular.

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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