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VINE VOICEon 20 June 2017
Blu-ray details: this is a very cinematically shot series and the images contained on these discs do full justice to the gorgeous photography, with close ups revealing a wealth of character detail and the sweeping helicopter shots showing off the eerie landscape. The sound design, while being mostly just talking, is sharp and well placed.

True Detective, it will come as no surprise, is a detective story about a murder investigation with occult overtones. The story is told in a dual narrative, with the events unfolding at the time of the crime in Louisiana in 1995, while in parallel, the case is being reinvestigated by two new detectives in 2012. These parallel storylines are masterfully handled: at no time is the viewer confused as to which time period they are watching and the ageing of the actors is incredibly well-handled, through effective but not excessive makeup effects.

So the story itself is engaging but what really elevates True Detective, is the quality of the writing and the acting - like so much of the new golden age of long-form drama that started with The West Wing and HBO's prison drama Oz in the mid 1990s, it is not really what happens but how it happens that impresses. The standard of acting is just fantastic, with even the smallest character seeming a fully realised, rounded, individual and lead characters Matthew McConaughey (building on his recent, fantastic body of work in films like Interstellar) and Woody Harrelson (his best work since Natural Born Killers) deliver career-best performances: selfless, unshowy, detailed and wholly believable.

True Detective was created and written by Nic Pizzolatto and his writing, here, is so rich and full of character, with the intellectual sparring between the two detectives being dramatic, credible, sometimes funny, sometimes intense. Again, minor characters are also fully-realised and given room to live and breathe.

Occasionally, a book, film or television series comes along that reinvents the genre. I wasn't sure that was possible with police dramas after the studious brilliance of the police procedural, The Wire, which analysed the War on Drugs as seen through the eyes of its soldiers, generals and politicians (and later it's educators and media) on both sides. In just eight brilliant episodes, Nic Pizzolatto and cast and crew have taken a decades-old genre and turned it on its head, opening up and exposing a whole other world of previously untapped possibilities. Unreservedly recommended.
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on 31 October 2017
It's hard to predict who'll enjoy a show as unique as this, so I'll start with comparison recommendations. If you liked Silence of the Lambs and/or Zodiac (2007), you'll love this. If you liked other hard-hitting HBO miniseries like Generation Kill, you'll like this. If you were able to put up with The Wire's glacially slow pacing, you'll get on fine with this. If you found any of those boring, you'll probably find this boring too.

True Detective (Season 1) is gritty, murky and deliberately slow. It isn't full of bodies or violence like most detective shows, preferring the slow reveal - you don't even see a suspect until episode 3 or 4, and then all is not as simple as it seems. The truth feels overwhelmingly remote and hidden, and you follow the detectives' attempts to get closer to the killer with sympathy and frustration. There is no per-episode resolution or conclusion, and the detectives seem disempowered and stonewalled throughout. Some will find that tedious. But it's really the show's biggest strength, because it makes the challenge of their job more convincing and their successes all the more thrilling. At critical points when a connection was made or a clue found, I felt genuinely excited and fearful in a way that I never have watching episodic detective shows.

There are occasional graphic and upsetting moments and some really bleak ideas at work, so it's also not for the easily disturbed. It's shot through with dry humour and bitter, nihilistic ruminations from the main characters as they trudge from one dead neighbourhood to the next, trying to extract help from an impoverished and broken community. The whole show has a studious obsession with darkness, madness and isolation, which the setting (post-hurricane backwater Louisiana) serves wonderfully. But it also pays tenderly close attention to the characters' feelings and their personal lives, side characters included - a soft touch often missing, again, from other detective shows. All of the people introduced feel real and unique, and I can still remember most of them. In the end, it's the characters, not the crimes, which provide the most interesting moments.

Needless to say, the acting is impeccable throughout. Matthew McConaughey was a vaguely recognised rom-com entity before this, which makes his game-changing, hypnotic performance all the more surprising. Some of his character's discursive moments are so interesting and well-acted I had to go back and watch them several more times. The season, in its entirety, follows the characters over a period of years, and the ageing and changing attitudes and demeanours are handled masterfully by McConaughey and Harrelson. Both received Golden Globe nominations for Best Actor. Reading about McConaughey's personal life (which I recommend doing only after you've finished the show) makes his performance here nothing short of miraculous, given how diametrically opposite he is to this character. I have enormous respect for him for working so hard to give life and depth to a character so completely unlike himself.

I always come back to Silence of the Lambs when trying to recommend this show to people. It has more in common with that film than perhaps anything else: it focuses on the characters, on their psychology and why they are invested in what they do (both killers and law enforcers). The whole show is fuelled, not by a rubbernecking need to see gruesome things or a simple fear of danger, but by sympathy and dark intrigue and memorable characters acted perfectly.

In case it isn't obvious, I would recommend the show strongly. It (Season 1 at least, I haven't watched 2) is one of the best things I've ever seen.
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on 10 July 2016
I am behind the times as usual as I have only just managed to watch this. To be honest I was waiting to see if I could watch it using prime or TV now but no such luck so I had to buy it. But it was so worth it. These two are perfect foils for one another, of the two I preferred Rustin as his moral compass pointed true north whereas Martin didn't seem to possess any morals at all. Martie has no direction, he takes and really doesn't like it when things do not go the way he wants. I don't think I have ever seen a better pinched mouth expression than the one that Martie can produce at will.

Fabulous series, two superb actors a storyline that just kept giving. Loved it, give it more than 5 stars and off to watch season 2
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on 16 February 2016
McConaughey and Harrelson play two local detectives who are being interviewed by State Police, in the present time, about their roles in the past(1995) during which their job was to track down the killer of a prostitute who had been ritually tortured and murdered.
It's hinted at that the interviews are to cover gaps in the procedural or that there is the possibility of the killer reemerging again or even that one of the detectives may have been guilty of the crime himself----we, the audience, are not totally sure until the episodes move along and more of the original investigation is revealed.

That investigation is shown in depth in flashback together with detailed information about the two detectives,their life-styles, their strengths and weaknesses and their failures and successes during the search for the killer.

Knowing this set-up of the style of the series does help in following what is happening as the episodes progress. I found it complicated as sometimes happens when a story is told in flashback and continually interchanges with the present.

For me it was worth sticking with True Detective as the finale was stunning and rewarding, and well worth the heaps of awards that this 1st season received.
My copy is the Spanish / English version which has English subtitles included,a must for me as some of the dialogue was very Southern-USA accented. It is set in Louisiana.
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on 27 July 2015
An impressive and highly thought provoking show. The two retired detectives begin by being interviewed under the premise of restoring destroyed files but you just know something is up. A lot of the questioning is hinting at there being another crime similar to the one they had originally investigated and the finger of blame is being pointed at McConaughey's character because of his unusual detecting techniques and odd lifestyle. The show switches between the present - the two being interviewed separately for 'file recovery' and the detectives investigating the original case many years before. After the first couple of episodes you're opinions of the characters will change and change again until finally when you think you cant be shocked anymore...
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VINE VOICEon 28 September 2015
Here’s the thing: I could summarise the plot of HBO’s True Detective in 200 words and you’d probably stop me before the end. “Yeah, yeah,” you’d say, “tell me something I don’t know.” And it would be true – the description would sound like a thousand police dramas you’ve seen before: the mismatched cop partners, the baffling murder case that has dragged on for many years without being solved, strange symbols with hints of devil worship, endless witness tracking and interrogations, chases and shootings, opposition from within the police hierarchy closing ranks, plus the endless misery of personal lives… need I go on?

But this description does not begin to scratch the surface here. True Detective is in fact one of the most powerful slow-burn dramas you will find anywhere, its attention to detail immense, its script taut, its acting painfully intense, its music as atmospheric as its camerawork, its direction neat and thoughtful. This is unquestionably very high class drama, as much about the complex and smouldering relationship between the two principle protagonists, played with a deceptively casual precision by Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey, both changing in appearance and demeanour subtly over the lengthy time span covered by the series. Were this a movie, you could expect both to be up for Best Actor, though both were nominated for a host of TV awards.

Taken from my review on my website (copyright Andy Millward)
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on 9 January 2016
I saw this Series in HD and the first thing I must tell You is, this Copy has a very poor Image. The reason why I've bought it, was the Portuguese Subtitles.
But forget the Picture, because we are before the most increadible Crusade of the World's Serial Killer's Stories of our times !
Hard do describe the brilliant HBO's Work as well as the astonishing Mathew McConaughey's Performance!
A terrible fight against true 'Demons' of Flesh & Blood. A fantastic Show about the worst cruel Freaks we can be, as well as the best feellings and attitudes we are capable of...
A Portrait of Evil, Madness, Body and Soul's Misery, Fanaticism and Corruption! A Chamber of Horrors most of them ingeniously hidden from our eyes, but perfectly read between the lines!
Also a lesson about pure Friendship and Partnership.

Superb narrative! Superb dialogues most of all between two Detectives, two absolutely different personalities, the Main Characters of this impressive Series. McConaughey is so intense that once in a while we have to breathe...fresh Air...
A Woody Herrelson at his best and a luxury Cast.

Prepare yourself to Repugnant and extremely Violent scenes and to this magnificent creation of a Sadistic Unforgetable Psychopath!

The simple and beautiful Soundtrack, suggests me a 'Sad Prayer' to all the injured and unfortunate of this World...
And the last scene, is so much full of Humanity and Kindness, and so remarkably performed, that I could not avoid Tears...

Resuming: Writers, Actors and Cameras at their best and...a Series to Remember...
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on 8 January 2016
Coming back to this after the messy 2nd season really just highlights how fantastic season 1 really is. It has that deep south swampy feel to it which works so well with the murder investigation that is taking place. It's murky, it's dark and it's complex. This certainly isn't for a casual television viewer who wants something on in the background while they're doing something else. This show demands your attention and you owe it to yourself to give it that, because it is such a rewarding experience. The acting is truly brilliant. It's my favourite Matthew McConaughey performance ever, better than Dallas Buyers Club I think. As stated, the look and tone of this show enhances the story; it really is shot beautifully. The narrative and structure of the story is also very original, with complex monologues and dream like images present. The idea of the two main characters being interviewed in the recent present and recounting the details of a case they worked in 1995 worked wonderfully. All in all, this series is one of the best I've watched and I'd go so far as to say it's the best police based drama I've ever seen.
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on 1 March 2015
A tale of murder and troubled characters in the US. I am a lover of Scandinavian noir and hoped this would be in the same vein. It is but it's marred by the sound for me. The characters seem to do a lot of mumbling in southern US accents, this renders watching very difficult as I'm slightly hard of hearing. I haven't worked out if subtitling is available, but this would greatly improve the experience for me and probably many others. I doubt that I shall watch any more episodes. While I understand the drive for realism, persistent mumbling seems a step too far.

Since writing the above, I have been loaned the DVD of the series by my son who really liked it. I have watched two episodes and now understand what is going on. This is because a) the soundtrack seems crisper and the dialogue clearer, b) I have watched it with the subtitles enabled. I am now getting hooked by the plot line and will almost certainly watch the whole series.
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on 1 February 2017
I honestly believe this is THE best written TV show available today.
I was torn between the wire and Breaking Bad, but this just tops it. It inches out due to the dialogue.


My favourite line in any TV programme ever is this... Life's barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at.

Also, I know this got flak for the lack of female characters, however lesson one of writing: Only write what you know. It is better he didn't write something stupid (I'm really unimpressed with the women in breaking bad) than to write nothing at all. Or so is my opinion anyway.
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