Like Jane Campion's miniseries "Top of the Lake," which aired on Sundance
last year — and with which "True Detective" shares a talented cinematographer, Adam Arkapaw — "True Detective" runs slow and steady without ever seeming to drag. (Arkapaw's work here recalls that of Southern color photographers like William Eggleston and William Christenberry; it has the slightly muted creaminess of physical color prints and argues in its way for the beauty of the world, as a kind of counterweight to the narrative.) Even minor characters get room to breathe, and seem independently alive; the briefest scenes seem to imply life beyond the frame.
Pizzolatto has a good ear for how people talk; his dialogue rarely sounds composed, though Cohle does have some fancy phrases to get through — "the ontological fallacy of expecting light at the end of the tunnel" and how life is "never anything but a jerry rig of presumption and dumb will."
Yet McConaughey pitches his lines low, keeps them matter-of-fact, more so even than Harrelson's presumably laid-back Hart. The dance they do together here is work of a very high order, and all the reason you need to watch.
When: 9 p.m. Sunday
Rating: TV-MA (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 17)
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