Monday, March 10, 2014


I initially became totally engaged with the first few episodes of TRUE DETECTIVE. Especially with the acting, and especially with Matthew McConaughey's. (Posted about back a few weeks.) Then for me they jumped the shark a bit in the bikers episode. Way too big suspension of disbelief necessary for plot points that I could've driven one of those coal trucks in Wyoming through.

But it kept my interest, despite all the invective that began to appear, including from good friends, about the obvious sexism of the story and focus etc. With which I could agree, but I also felt about that the way I did about the protests against BASIC INSTINCT which ended up making me money. I only had two days work on the flick but because of the protests on location in San Francisco where that film was set, with the protesters blowing piercing whistles so the sound couldn't record the actors clearly, they had to rebuild some of the locations in a Hollywood studio and move everything down there and the two days turned into two weeks for which I was paid handsomely.

But my point was, I understood the protesters point of view that time too. Here was a movie at least in part about a lesbian relationship but the lesbian was a murderer. And the lesbians in the nightclub were coked up and mean etc. But to deny the right for a storyteller to depict lesbians as murderers or coked up mean people is to deny one category of humans all the possibilities of any other human in terms of behavior and morals etc. (and besides, she was "bisexual" at least in the movie's terms).

I feel the same about the objections to TRUE DETECTIVE being so sexist and the women characters having little to do outside of having sex with the men. It's a valid criticism. But it's the point of view of the story and to deny the storyteller that perspective is to say there aren't men who see the world that way, or that men-who-see-the-world-that-way is too often the point of view of certain genres, like pulp fiction "true" detective stories.

Anyway, the series wrapped up pretty nicely, making some solid points about the ways the wealthy and powerful get away with evil so much more easily than those without wealth and power, and about "the light versus the dark" (though like many, I too had a difficult time understanding the last words of McConaughey's character) (there's a great parody of his and the scripts complicated language being difficult to decipher on YouTube) and how it once was all dark but then came at least some light (which was part of the point of those last words)...

In the end it was a pretty successful series, with some stunningly good acting even when the plot was over the top, and some terrific atmospherics (even if I hated the creepy eerie stuff) and relatively complex if at times cliched (thus the biker episode) story lines, and some tense and scary moments (even with the usual why-would-an-experienced cop walk into a dark fortress in the middle of a doorway with only a pistol when if the one he was pursuing had a rifle or shotgun etc. he could be blown away as easily as etc.).

Now, let's see if the next installment in this TRUE DETECTIVE series, with new actors, addresses the sexism issue. Could get interesting.


tpw said...

Dear M:
I really enjoyed the series & was sorry to have it end. But I thought the last episode was more of a miss than a success. I wondered how many different endings they considered before settling on the one that aired. The story would have been much more powerful if Rust had died at the end, IMO. Yes, all that wandering around in the catacombs was the male version of the beautiful young woman heading down alone into the basement in every horror movie. In the end, it was more about the acting than the narrative. (To be able to watch the alluring Lily Simmons simultaneously on True Detective and Banshee made this winter more endurable; and Michelle Monaghan was spectacular in TD; for me there's an important difference between portraying sexism & promoting it.)yrs, T

Lally said...

well said and ditto