Wednesday, 19 August 2015



Genuine Grit.

8 Episodes. Starring: Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch & Vince Vaughn.

Darkness in greying greens and bleak browns is illuminated for a split, split second by fire. Flicking his cigarette to life and death, Colin Farrell buries the metal lighter in his beat up tweed, offset by the stain of nicotine suit jacket and takes one hell of a 'I've had a long day' drag. Sucking the air from his cheeks and the wind right out his lungs. Exhaling, taking the cancer stick out of his mouth, looking at it longingly he savours the moment. A fleeting seconds respite of peace in all this brimstone. What else is he going to do? Vape off an E-Cig? Nope, that is like, "sucking a robots d###", obviously...we all know what that's like don't we 'Ex Machina' digital generation? Flicking its ash into its tray besides a basket of dinner so lacking in nourishment and health the cigarette may as well of gone there, he stares at an empty glass that's more than a metaphor, before he fills it up with another shot which unfortunately in this moment is not another life comparison cliché. He looks across the bar in fear of a female singer (a lamenting Lera Lynn, the real life sensational singer that helps the score of this soundscape soundtrack soar) her stage a barstool. Looking strung out on some substance or the strings of the guitar gently weeping the junkies life of what could have been. "This is my least favourite life" she cries, albeit in a beautifully dull ache. She may as well be singing directly to him...and not just because he harmonizes with every lyric. But because he's the only one in this chairs on table bar, save the man across from him. Joining him like he was a friend, but working him harder than the time his day has given him. Who does this comedian think he is? Some sort of mobster? And what about our guy, taking that brown envelope from this guy for his next pay day, with no tax and stuffing it in his jacket as he brushes past what feels like a badge? Good cop? Bad? Who is this guy? In this world that we deserve maybe the closest thing to a 'True Detective'.

Too much? Too clichéd? Well this is season two in all its beauty and beats. All its honour and corruption. This is not McConaughey or Woody. In fact its a whole new jurisdiction. Although the original partners in this bloody-cop series return as executive producers in a show that doubles up before you even had chance to rewatch the first season from early last year. One that became an instant classic that everyone loved with fierce passion and loyalty like it was the new 'Breaking Bad' down the wire. But this is a whole new story completely, break or bad. With only some car confessionals and across the table opening homage to keeps this by the book of its weird but wonderful writer Nic Pizzolatto. To go with, of course the cinematic feeling, high-def, high-filmed highways and landscapes that twist and snake in the distance like the perfect picturesque portrayal of plot. Lead in by some iconic title sequences remixed by Cohen couplets. And now this round of drinks (even if given the "same again" treatment over the series until we've all had enough) serves as one hell of an artistic scene that even the classic first season couldn't canvas or compass like the final, beach beauty breach, world spun around, fade out finale of the first episode directed by 'Fast and Furious' franchise fuel Justin Lin. And you thought the Linsanity's only trademark touch would be giving Farrell's cool Velcoro detective a cop car that could even out muscle Vin Diesel's power on the road? Here's a runaway scene so classic you can forgive all the collateral confusion and damage some of this drawn out investigation at only the latest 8 episodes of wonder finds us with. Your teeth feel pulled? Well now you know what its like to cop some real police work. File this next to the drawn out classic tone of a 'Zodiac' killer movie. More epic evidence comes with some crippling cliffhangers that will work your next week down to the nails, let alone your nerve (although in this 'Daredevil' dominating Netflix age this show would have hindsight worked better binged instead of the momentum it loses, week by waiting week. As apposed to the cliffhanger craving nature of a series like a 'Wayward Pines' ). To go along with a one-shot, season one rivalling escape from a whore house scarier than a hood one and a sensational city-street shootout of classic 'Heat' like proportions. Let alone one of the best things this entire 'True Detective' name has ever done. And lets not forget the strangest and cheapest Conway Twitty cut-away since 'Family Guy' for a defining dream sequence that still sublime...hey at least Lera Lynn gets a break. All this and so much more leading to the fire of a finale stretched over two extended episodes until all strings in your heart break under the gun to temple pressure of all the stakes, twists and heat. In these wrenching moments where like a book this series will show you its all about the complete story and not just the chapters that are judged like a cover, this show shows you it has a soul. Even if it is the darkest one. But which 'True Detective' has True Grit?

Grind this one out and you'll see that the best thing about a show that is so much better than all the critics have slated is Colin Farrell. The closest thing to a worn out cop on this side of the law than Pacino in his prime. As a matter of fact, armed with a badge, gun, slicked back, long hair and a massive, maverick moustache so magnificent you don't want to see Movember, this is Colin's 'Miami Vice' cop decades later and darker, but with no Foxx to get him out this hole. This time struggling with a drug depression that's numbing the substance out of his life as he tries to protect the pain of losing a son that may not even be his paternity, whilst trying to solve a case which is even bleaker and grey than the black and white print of a test he just doesn't want to take. The formidable Farrell plays this out perfectly, sober and intoxicated here . And from the off the rails binges to the just raw, straight emotion with no chaser one of the best and most underrated actor goes beyond the cliches of playing a part that he has some real life experience with. This is more than just a former addict acting out a relapse, this is a real talent showing the truest testament to a character...understanding. And all ours comes with that too. All to a character we even love from the start and don't want to lose despite his basement of hell dwelling flaws...and boy there's a devil of detailed rooms with views here. As real as this gets rom-com queen Rachel McAdams adds more amazing acting to her detectives notebook. As one of Hollywood's leading ladies of acting and attraction makes herself up in nothing but knives and lint and shows us a real heroine without the sexualised side that Hollywood has been itching for. About time! Yet her terrific transition isn't the only small-screen swipe switch. Former 'John Carter' and X-Men Gambit, Taylor Kitsch may be playing his best hand after all he's been dealt here on this highway to motorcycle hell after his warm and heartbreaking 'Lone Survivor' fight, but we're talking about the former king of comedy here. And as Vince Vaughn plays it straight and sinister we have the makings of a velvet smooth, suited and booted villain. Although a more vile, Vegas like hot hand steak for this casino tycoon character would have made this hand this shows ace in the hole we all hoped he would be. Although Vaughn is no snake eyes, despite being more Atlantic City than Sin City, the improv king would have taken the house if he had coloured outside the lines instead of playing it all paint by numbers gangster. His boiling point, breakout at the end would have bubbled even more if he was set on a more subtle simmer than the symbolism, that like the chasing of a ghost called Caspere was a little too on the nose to save face. Still we hope this seriousness leads to a similar streak for an 'Old School' actor who started his career with 'The Lost World' and is now far from extinct. Rounding out the rest of a complex cast that even has a Springfield that doesn't have to wish for Jessie's girl, are 'Sherlock Holmes' (reuniting with Rachel) and 'Flight's' flame hot Kelly Reilly on Christina Hendricks fire amongst all these mad men, in Michelle Monaghan mode and for the first time ever a cop show that features David Morse dressed in a long-haired hippy hue instead of the boys in blue. Weird huh? Well this is 'True Detective'. A show of crows and confusion that plants more seeds than it pecks away at. Want more than these crumbs? Perhaps its time for a trilogy? A new story and season will be welcome to some who will be even more eager for the next thin red line of true detectives. But just like Harrelson and McConaughey, you'll still have these real cops going round your head like a flat circle. Because after all, even if the light is winning, darkness always touches you back. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

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