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True Detective: Season 2 - Review

True Detective: Season 2

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

IF THE first season of Nic Pizzolatto’s True Detective was hailed as an instant classic, season two fell victim to some truly horrific reviews. But in our opinion, a lot of what was written was unfair.

While certainly flawed, the sophomore run was still a gripping affair thanks in no small part to the quality of its central performances. And one man in particular stood out: Colin Farrell. As morally compromised detective Ray Velcoro, the actor delivered an absolute master-class.

At times deeply dislikeable, at others hugely sympathetic, Velcoro was one of the best character creations the small screen has delivered in some time because of the nuances afforded to him by Farrell. A self-loathing heavy drinker with a penchant for dishing out beatings, Velcoro suddenly found himself at the centre of a murder investigation that could afford him an unlikely shot at redemption. But at what cost?

Farrell positively chewed up the screen in allowing Velcoro’s story to unravel. His pain was frequently etched across his face, whether it was the torment of being a distant father, or the desperation to right the wrongs of a past. You couldn’t help but root for him because you could see the good trying to get out, no matter how many times it became smothered by the darker actions he was frequently asked to carry out.

Farrell has long been an actor we’ve hugely admired but here he was quite simply incredible. And Season 2 of True Detective became must-see viewing just for him.

But that’s not to discount his ensemble players. Taylor Kitsch also excelled as Paul Woodrugh, a war veteran and motorcycle cop for the California Highway Patrol, whose discovery of a grisly crime scene triggers the investigation in the first place; as did Vince Vaughn as Frank Semyon, a criminal and entrepreneur in danger of losing his life’s work just as the point he was seeking legitimacy. The latter’s scenes with Farrell, in particular, delivered many of the show’s highlights.

Rachel McAdams, as another of the lead detectives, may have been less well served by Pizzolatto’s script, but she still showed a different side to her make-up as an actress and provided plenty of grit as Ani Bezzerides, another lost soul looking for a chance to turn her life around.

Arguably the main problem with the second season of True Detective was the needlessly convoluted nature of the main investigation itself, as well as some of the more contrived directions it took. But even then, it delivered some high class moments, not least of which was a mid-season shoot-out that was stunningly choreographed, and a final two episodes that tied things up in compelling, if downbeat fashion.

But then this was very much a tragedy played out on an epic scale. And watching each character’s tale [and fate] unfold made for riveting – and in Farrell’s case – unforgettable viewing.

Certificate: 18
Number of discs: 3
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release: January 11, 2016