Cops, killers, and whatever the hell it is you call Keanu Reeves
Nic Pizollato’s detective anthology series True Detective is back on TV, and catch the new John Wick trailer
After the lukewarm reception to its second outing in 2015, creator Nic Pizollato’s detective anthology series True Detective returns to screens with what appears to be a stronger narrative, a more considered cast and a borrowing of some reliable tricks from its debut season in 2014.
Pizollato splits the action across three time periods, jumping between them to create tension and provide levels of dramatic irony that create a gap in knowledge between the characters and audience.
The story focuses on the case of two children who go missing in a small town in Arkansas in 1980. Detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali) and his partner Roland West (Stephen Dorff) are the unlucky SOBs who catch the case.
It jumps in time between the events of the case, a 10-year-later interview with Hays by other cops still working it, and finally a grey-haired older Hays interview for a true crime television show – it’s a case full of red herrings, deflated expectations and frustrations that will stick with all those involved for decades. The first three episodes unfold their mystery sometimes frustratingly slowly but this is one of the aspects that made the show’s first Matthew McConaughey/Woody Harrelson starring season an intriguing and watchable piece of detective noir.
By returning the show to a more rural and small-town setting after its second season foray into the LA underworld, Pizollato has returned some of the eerie, murky atmosphere that serves as a better fit to its slow reveals.
The frustrating over-complications of the second season’s plot have also been shelved in favour of a multi-level character story that isn’t all about twists and tricks and false leads. It is rather a deeper examination of the effects of the children’s disappearance on their family, their town and the police involved in the case.
Mahershala Ali gives a strong, quietly brooding and enigmatic performance that also helps to keep us guessing and wondering how he might have got from where we find him at the start of the case to where he is in the present day.
It’s a similar device to that which Pizollato used for McConaughey’s character in the first season and it seems that it will pay rewards here. It may not necessarily be the innovative, fresh ideas incarnation of the series that diehard fans might have hoped for but so far it seems that True Detective is back on track to deliver plenty of intrigue and dramatic tension in the next few weeks.
• True Detective is on DStv Channel 101 on Wednesdays at 22.10pm.
THIS JUST IN: JOHN WICK PARABELLUM TRAILER
Fans of former stuntman turned director Chad Stahelski’s Hong Kong action meets Hollywood franchise John Wick can look forward to a third outing for Keanu Reeves’ dog-loving hitman in May this year.
The trailer for John Wick: Parabellum dropped last week and from what we’re able to make out it’s going to be more of the same blend of genre-bending action, high-gloss production design and sharp one-liner delivery – beginning with Ian McShane who drolly sets everything in motion with a languid: “And away we go ...”
Looks like this time out Reeves is joined by Halle Berry, McShane and Angelica Houston. Wick will be fighting off armies of enemies on the back of a bike with a samurai sword, on the back of a horse with a gun and at least initially in the company of his beloved dog. See a clip here.