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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing TV drama, astounding soundtrack.
Well, HBO have done it again. Their trademark production values, attention to detail, masterful casting and world-class writing have yet again combined to bring us an astonishing bit of TV drama.

The mood is set from the outset by the brilliant opening credits accompanied by the perfect country murder ballad (Far From Any Road by the Handsome Family) and...
Published 6 months ago by Willy Eckerslike

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sings loud but doesn't quite hit the right note
The two main detectives in the story are presented to us firstly through their recollections of past incidents in 'present day' interviews by internal affairs investigators, leading us then into flashback mode to show us the actual events unfolding at the time, all set in the sprawling, sunbaked, riverside badlands of Louisiana, aka fanatical bible bashing, brothel...
Published 1 month ago by L Thornton


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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing TV drama, astounding soundtrack., 30 Nov. 2014
By 
Willy Eckerslike (France) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Well, HBO have done it again. Their trademark production values, attention to detail, masterful casting and world-class writing have yet again combined to bring us an astonishing bit of TV drama.

The mood is set from the outset by the brilliant opening credits accompanied by the perfect country murder ballad (Far From Any Road by the Handsome Family) and throughout the show the music sets the tenor perfectly. The score and cinematography combine to conjure an atmosphere densely grim, grimy and oppressive, redolent with Louisiana heat and humidity as the plot flows from one run-down ramshackle backwoods hovel to another.

The initial plot folllows the present day review of an old 1995 murder case with interviews with the two main protagonists (`Rust' Cohle - Matthew McConaughey and Marty Hart - Woody Harrelson) with flashback sequences detailing the action. This engrossing format continues as the case unfolds following murder and child abduction deep into the seedy underbelly of the American Deep South. The tension and pace are deftly managed as the relationship between Rust and Marty unravels during the investigation with Rust's obsessive, almost Aspberger's-like behaviour and Marty's philandering adding personal strains to an already overbearingly tense investigation.

Both lead actors play their parts perfectly; McConaughey is absolutely astonishing while Harrelson, by no means one of our favourite actors, is actually perfectly cast, despite all of the chin-out pouting hard-face thing that he does. They both play deeply flawed, utterly plausible characters to perfection and the supporting cast dovetail perfectly with their performance.

It is hard to heap too much praise on this incredible production. On the surface it is only a TV cop-buddy show but there is so much depth and atmosphere that you're dragged into its steamy, swampy depth from the first note of the opening credits. Fantastic stuff and there's another season (although not with the same cast - this time starring Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn) currently in production.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best series of 2014 - Must watch television is back..., 26 Jun. 2014
This review is from: True Detective - Season 1 [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
This has been the most exhilarating experience on television this year. 'True Detective' is is crime drama like nothing you have seen before. Yes, perhaps one can see facets of other highly-rated series we may have watched over the years but no other series has come close to what 'True Detective' has achieved. It gets under your skin. Period.

The acting from all players is is sterling but Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are just too good, especially McConaughey but then his character is more layered and his dialogue, especially his philosophizing, is just so rich. The story is gothic, wrapped in the now familiar hunt for a serial killer but never done like this before to this extent. The storytelling is detailed, the conversations authentic, the acting intense and the dreariness, the futility of peoples lives and the inevitability of death just oozes of the screen and slaps you right in the face.

The story is essentially the hunt for a serial killer across seventeen years but the horror is only part of the tale. The relationship between the detectives, their individual world-view and their relationship with those around them takes center-stage. The setting is Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina and the multiple time-lines show the initial investigation in 1995 which then forms the background to the present day where a new killing is being investigated by two other detectives but where the m.o. points to the same killer. All of the episodes are excellent but the brief glimpse of the killer in Episode 3 and the sustained tension towards the end of Episode 4 stand out as does the climatic action sequence.

I encourage you to buy and watch this series in two sittings over a long weekend on balmy nights. You will not be disappointed. The blu-ray set has plenty of special features including commentaries and interviews and more besides.
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74 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 26 Jun. 2014
By 
Richard Morton (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Right from the stylish opening credits and the excellent soundtrack that accompanies them I was hooked on this brilliant murder mystery thriller.

Woody Harrelson and Matthew Mcconaughey are on career best form as Marty and Rust, two New Orleans detectives investigating a ritualistic murder from 1995. The story and the case plays out in various time frames - the original investigation in 95 as well as 2002 and the present day. The murder itself and the identity of the killer or killers is almost secondary at times, it's the issue that drives the plot but True Detective is as much about the men doing the hunting, their lives and relationships etc.

It may not be for everyone as it's not told at a breakneck pace and Mcconaugheys character does love a good philosophical debate/rant. It's more of a slower, steady, tense build to a dramatic conclusion. I found it to be gripping and enthralling, it really gets under your skin. Like much of the best tv stuff these days it plays out almost like a 7/8 hour movie. The cast, director and production values are all of the highest standard - as well as the aforementioned lead roles, Michelle Monaghan is also excellent as Marty's wife and there's strong support across the board.

I'd recommend it very highly, especially to fans of The Wire or David Finchers Zodiac.
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67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best 8-hour movie ever made - McConaughey is our greatest actor, 14 Jun. 2014
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Far more cinematic, powerfully acted, beautifully written (with the most quotable dialogue ever) and filmed than any movie I've seen in the last 10 years. And I'm quite the cinephile.

The dynamic pairing of McConaughey and Harrelson shows what film chemistry is all about. Harrelson has never, ever been better (and this work reminds you of just how great he can be), but McConaughey blows the roof off and, adding to his exemplary run of intense, devastating recent performances (Dallas Buyers Club, Mud, Killer Joe, etc.), he makes an easy-to-defend case for his being the greatest actor working today.

Less a serial killer thriller or police procedural than a psychological study of two broken men, True Detective adroitly mixes noir, Southern Gothic horror, drama and black comedy to come up with an original formula that is bound to be much copied, but never equalled.

You'll never get Rust Cohle out of your head though. You have been warned. The musical score is to die for, brilliantly compiled by T. Bone Burnett.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This series sets the bar very high, 16 Nov. 2014
By 
Techno Brit (Sydney, Australia) - See all my reviews
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One of the best detective series I've ever seen over the past 30+ years. It's got it all: great soundtrack; plot; brooding cinematography and flawed heroes. And, of course, a few heart-stopping moments. Being a typical Brit, I found the ability to have subtitles displayed a definite plus. In that sense not unlike Nordic Noir (or, for me, Nordic anything...) But, beware, it does nothing to improve Louisiana tourism...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sings loud but doesn't quite hit the right note, 13 April 2015
By 
L Thornton (South Shropshire) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The two main detectives in the story are presented to us firstly through their recollections of past incidents in 'present day' interviews by internal affairs investigators, leading us then into flashback mode to show us the actual events unfolding at the time, all set in the sprawling, sunbaked, riverside badlands of Louisiana, aka fanatical bible bashing, brothel ridden, redneck country with the menace of Deliverance lurking in every swamp.

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConnaughey fully immerse themselves in their roles, chewing the script, the scenery and each other up at times of hostility between them. Rust is a 'tortured soul' of high intelligence but deeply depressive and introverted and Marty more the conventional extroverted 'hands on, punch first' breed. Problem is, the focus is skewed too much on their troubled lives and personalities at the expense of the serial killer crime investigation which doesn't get fleshed out as much as the back stories of the leads. There is nothing wrong with narrative and dialogue but there is an awful lot of it, well delivered (albeit some strong southern accents) for the most part but long-winded with some cliches along the way. Rust's great intellectual and crime solving abilities, which are constantly referred to, are coupled awkwardly with his drug fuelled hallucinations and impressive self defence skills and fighting ability. The script is repetitive, borderline tedious, in its presentation of his tragic married life and of the profound effect it has had upon him. Marty is introduced as a much more straightforward, straight talking and straitlaced family man but then his flaws reveal him as a wife cheating drunk who somehow or other manages to fit into his busy schedule a nubile young thing on the side most of the time (they seem to find him irresistible?!) - reflecting the show's frequent portrayal of women as stereotypes particularly in the scenes with Marty, who is usually clothed whilst the young woman having sex with him is nude - at least in Rust's sex scene he shows off his bum and the woman is roughly on equal terms in the scene! Marty's wife is mostly shown as bitter, dissatisfied and disillusioned, an unhappy victim of Marty's neglect and betrayals, and ultimately ends up wreaking a disappointingly portrayed, shallow act of revenge which doesn't do her character any favours.

The story could be improved with less monologuing from the leads and more storyline - the final episode seems to have to whizz through a lot of fast catching up, tying up connections suddenly and leading to the killer being discovered. Cue the obligatory chasing around a dark house of horror with its madwoman inhabitant, followed by the short cat and mouse climax in the killer's maze-like lair filled with rotted remains and quasi-satanic symbolism, which is never satisfactorily explained despite this theme running through the whole series. In the end both detectives, incredibly, survive life threatening injuries which it is hard to believe could be survived and come out of the hospital buddy experience changed men, with a new respect for each other.

The series isn't as great as I had expected but it isn't bad, and offers a different take on an unoriginal storyline with a handful of stereotypes and cliches along the way. For me the watchability of Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConnaughey and the vast Louisiana scenery makes it seem better than it really is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enter the Heart of Darkness of Louisiana, 7 Oct. 2014
By 
Alan Jones (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This is a remarkable piece of work. The opening images and theme song signal that this is no ordinary detective series. The story of the hunt for a ritual serial killer is expertly told but this is more than a procedural drama. This is an invitation for us to examine our own existence. The futility of life is explored through the experiences of two police detectives. Woody Harrelson’s Marty Hart is a hypocritical adulterer unable to comprehend the importance of family while Matthew McConaughey’s Rust Cohle is a cynical drug taking nihilist insomniac brooding over the loss of his. Both men try to come to terms with their own flawed lives, the choices they have made and the darkness they encounter when pursing the truth behind the abductions and killings which have taken place over many decades. The writing, acting, cinematography and music are all superb. The pace is necessarily slow and the accents sometimes difficult to understand. However, this is a true classic which further rewards with repeat viewings.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, just brilliant, 20 Nov. 2014
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Brilliant, just brilliant. The closest thing to The Wire and The Killing (original version). Gut-wrenching performance by Matthew McConaughey. This guy can act! Woody Harrelson is just as good. Never thought the two would work so well together. I thought the pace and mood of the film was awesome all set within this broken, post-Hurricane Andrew New Orleans environs, which is so photogenic anyway. Can't wait for the next season.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Detective -"Main-lining the secret truths of the universe", 5 July 2014
By 
Red on Black - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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This is a spellbinding series starting with the first note of the Handsome Family's opening Southern gothic song "Far from any road", to the excruciatingly tense last episode. "True Detective" amounts to the greatest binge television event of 2014 leaving the viewer begging for more. This reviewer stayed in the house on the hottest day of the year glued to screen and sweating profusely after watching 5 episodes in a row. A week later Disc One was back in the DVD to watch it all again. Every now and then a series comes to the screen where all the working parts are in prime condition and its cast list so perfect that to suggest a potential tweak would be a form of sacrilege.

On the surface the plot is a humid New Orleans noir thriller around a lengthy search for a serial killer full of looming violence, warped relationships, shadowy cops, twisted elites and derelict plantations. This is not a visual shocker indeed its brilliant writer Nic Pizzolatto admitted that he had "literally no interest in serial killers, no interest in trying to shock or gross people out with portrayals of gore". In every sense the show is far more concerned with bigger themes of the human condition and our individual meagre impact in universal terms. The monologues in the series on human nature and existence, time and space, love and morality and the possibility of forces of light and evil are a source of sheer genius.

At the heart of "True Detective" are two master actors who both have their roots in comedy. Woody Harrelson has come a long way since the dimwitted saint "Woody" of the Cheers Bar. Here he is a deeply flawed macho "good ole boy" with good heart and traditional southern sensibilities. He plays Martin Hart a family man but a philanderer, he cannot abide questioning of God but he is not religious, he is driven by alcohol and a liar to his family. Harrelson's portrayal is rock solid and in any other series he would dominate proceedings. And yet by his is side in a dysfunctional cop partnership is "Rust Cohle" played by Matthew McConaughey. Quite when McConaughey blossomed from a rather average rom-com staple to one of America's greatest actors is hard to pinpoint. His performances in "Mud", "The Wolf of Wall Street" and his peerless lead in the "Dallas Buyers Club" have revealed an acting giant. Here as Cohle he is a crime fighting Nietzsche with a Southern drawl to die for and the torment of being an hallucinating insomniac far to clever for this world. He dominates the screen with such charisma that its difficult to part your gaze. The dialogue between Cohle and Hart is a masterclass of scriptwriting. It is often humorous, sometimes profound and perfectly executed. At one point Cohle tells Hart about his nihilistic view of the human predicament stating that "maybe the honourable thing for our species to do is deny our programming, stop reproducing, walk hand in hand into extinction, one last midnight - brothers and sisters opting out of a raw deal." He is a master interrogator of witnesses and casually informs a women confessor that "The newspapers are gonna be tough on you. And prison is very, very hard on people who hurt kids. If you get the opportunity, you should kill yourself." It is difficult to convey the force of Cohle's words and that is because they must be heard passing through the lips of the superb McConaughey.

Around these two actors are a superb cast and a particular mention should go to the impressive Michelle Monaghan as Hart's long suffering wife. Another star also present is the Louisiana landscape, the spooky Spanish moss, the boarded-up houses, the roads seemingly heading nowhere and the sub cultures of voodoo and carnival. Finally this is all topped off with T Bone Burnett's marvellous soundtrack ranging from artists like Lucinda Williams to Grinderman. There was once a time when it was cinema which advanced the art of form through the visual screen with brilliant directors like Scorcese, Cimino, Copella and Lucas. Today it is television and particularly the cutting edge network commissioning of HBO that rules the roost. They should be congratulated once again for "True Detective" is utterly magnetic television.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From the amazing opening credit sequence to the final music over the ..., 23 Nov. 2014
This review is from: True Detective - Season 1 (DVD)
Stunning series. From the amazing opening credit sequence to the final music over the credits, everything was perfect. Superb acting - wonderful characters - brilliantly plotted. Up there with the best Scandinavian noir. And finally getting to see T Bone Burnett on the extras. Wow!
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True Detective - Season 1 [Blu-ray] [2014] [Region Free]
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