How’s that song go?
“[something something] ten percent luck, twenty percent skill, fifteen percent concentrated power of..” nah, we forgot. Fewer still remember the name. But thanks to writers like me and viewers like you, it lives on in jokes and introductions to other things (see also: Galifianakis, Zach and Hoobastank).
So, Pizzolatto and Fukunaga. Remember those names!
That’s Mister Pizzolatto to you. He wrote the story for True Detective and knows he’s sitting pretty: great cast, nimble script, capable director. Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey couldn’t have been cheap, but HBO has to be pleased thus far. There’s been rightful praise for director Fukunaga’s visceral playbook. Personally, the opening scene (that fire!) captivated.
I mean, you tell me: is that not how you imagine the gritty, rural Louisiana lifestyle of the mid-1990s? And detective work always showcases the best in people and the brightest in places. Masticating hicks in trailer parks; skeevy caucasians in cottages.[Since this isn’t a genuine recapitulation, I’m not cutting plot lines. We’ll hash that all out later.]
McConaughey’s Rust Cohle is methodical in his work for the La. State Police Detective’s Office. Virulent at times, you’ve just got to watch him stalk a crime scene for clues. They call him the Taxman. He carries a full on, fold open pad instead of the smaller, traditional pocket-sized guy. Rust is a murder auditor with a dead set of eyes to match. Never you mind we’ll find out on down the line he’s looser wound than he lets on (see below).
Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) is assigned to be Cohle’s partner at the CID. Hart’s distaste for Cohle is front and center. The two share respect and not much else. Squad car cab conversation gets uncomfortably existential at times. At one point, Cohle mutters something about how the town looks like someone’s memory of a town – a memory that’s “fading.” Shit like that. Hart is quick to take offense. Something seems off about Cohle initially, but as the minutes pass, Pizzolatto pokes holes in Hart’s armor, too. The give and take is like tree sap.
But wait, there’s murder! Some girl gets hacked, crowned with antlers, and poised around some hanging twig figures. All quite grisly. Having stuck with Dexter through the lean years, I am somewhat desensitized to elaborate, symbolic murder mumbo jumbo. Regardless, the bayou backdrop (mumbo gumbo?) does make for tastier arrangement.
Take like an hour, don’t re-watch that episode of that other show, and step outside your digital comfort zone. Watch Woody and Matthew. See how there’s promise here. There’s reason to tune in for now, at least.