Another way of understanding the existential undertow of the flat circle and how it particularly drove this season’s narrative is a simple application of physics: an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. Can a subsequent generation will itself out of the inertia spun onto it by its predecessor? Perhaps it can, as the Omega Station has been reached with an answer to the series’ ongoing thesis: only the right people in our lives can alter our directed courses. Read More
All the characters are trying to find their way out with black maps as we’re seeing the end of DaVinci’s beginning. Bez and Velcoro accept the circle, Frank tries to undo it, and Woodrugh attempts to outrun it.
New evidence emerges from the stolen documents that link Catalyst and McCandless to Osip. Velcoro directs the link to Davis, but he finds her in a cold motionless revelation marked by blood, the predictable fate of everything and all that tries to be an anthesis to what will always be. DaVinci is a derelict child, like Velcoro (Collin Farell), Bez (Rachel McAdams), and Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch). But can they, will they, turn something bad into good? Read More
hurch in Ruins is why True Detective was worshipped to begin with. So far, the best episode of the season is reminiscent of Rust’s extended action sequence through the ghetto. Bez’s (Rachel McAdams) subplot’s climax evoking–either a Kubrickian or Lynchian (either way, brilliantly twisted and atmospheric) tone–matches Velcoro’s unbridled snowy Cuervo bender. Read More
As the first season dictates, crime predestines characters into its fold; their adopted second selves aren’t themselves, and the inevitability of the crime’s determinism has approached. In season one, after they ostensibly solved the crime, we saw Rust and Marty’s interlude draw out seemingly grounded as repaired people then pulled back into the crime’s undertow as they re-disintegrated. We only experienced a blip in this season, not even an episode, as this iteration re-awakens half way through.
And like the first season, the bad men seem amorphous, but there’s always one face formed of many like a mosaic from a distance, one singular expression–and it will reach for everything inside of them–at least, that’s what I’ve been hoping for. With three more episodes left, this dark experiment has a chance for redemption to have its potential culminate in entirety. To pull it off, every character needs to be at the end of themselves and turn back as they face new lengths in human amorality.
Post shoot-out mortem, a new stasis with new self has settled in. The investigation’s been shut down by State Attorney General Geldof, pinning Caspere’s murder on Amarilla from the Mexican outfit–and, strangely announcing his run for governor.
Thus, Velcoro evades his conscience by dropping the good-cop, bad-cop posture and fully commits to ambiguity by becoming a private investigator while still holding enforcer title with Frank in the midst of an ongoing custody battle; Bez is demoted to the sheriff’s office evidence lock up while pursuing Vera’s disappearance on her own timetable; Woodrugh is promoted to detective but withdrawn from the field to insurance fraud while facing extortion from Lindel; Jordan questions Franks recidivist business practices as the only way out.
But all of the character’s now independent lives and investigations evolve to one focal point of conspiracy. Frank orders Velcoro to snoop on Blake when he discovers him trafficking Frank’s prostitutes to his adversary Osip at a clinic with Pitlor and Tony present. The story takes a hard turn when Bez finds a political connection to Caspere’s hotsheet pawned blue diamonds. With plenty of evidence on the table, state investigator Davis reopens the investigation incognito. Davis wants evidence of collusion between Chessani’s political machine and the state attorney general’s chest full of campaign money–thus, no surprise to Velcoro that the state’s investigation was smoke and mirrors. Woodrugh and Bez match Caspere’s former movements to an a rural abandoned commune fitted with a bloodied sexual dungeon. Velcoro bitch slaps Pitlor around when he spits up old business between Caspere and Chessani involving escorts and real estate deals–all filmed and kept in Caspere’s pilfered hard drive to blackmail influential guests if threatened.
While Frank has Velcoro by the strings, he attempts to leverage his former place into the corridor by blackmailing a business associate who now operates the development company that holds the land to be bought by the government. He was complicit with Frank and his former waste company in dumping contaminants on the farmland that Bez and Woodrugh discovered to lower its purchase value for the railway. But the person whom Frank then sold it to had his life tampered with involving a car that never ends well with a cliff. Frank is given a quid pro quo back into the corridor if he finds Caspere’s stolen hard drive inspired by cinema verite–this same associate that attended the escort parties Pitlor divulged to Velcoro.
As Velcoro confronts Davis about his grit, another self is revealed. Davis tells him his wife’s rapist was forensically affirmed a few weeks ago–a different lead than what Frank lured him into. As Frank holds Jordan after thinking about selling their stakes and starting over, he looks up at the ceiling and says, “No more water stains.” The dark eyes have closed for the moment.
For prior Silver Screen Riot True Detective coverage, find archive reviews below:
TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 Episode 1 Review “The Western Book of the Dead”
TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 Episode 2 Review “Night Finds You”
TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 Episode 3 Review “Maybe Tomorrow”
TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 Episode 4 Review “Down Will Come”
Down Will Come is already here. DaVinci’s desecrated water table has waned Frank Semyon’s (Vince Vaughn) land as it tries for purity out of its poisoned seeds. We further wind down the dark spine into DaVinci’s ethos as the show’s symbology continues to open up like the liquid fingers of a black ink stain.
Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and Bez (Rachel McAdams) make a blip to her father’s spiritual commune to flesh out Irving Pitlor’s (the slithery, creepo psychiatrist that succinctly analyzed Caspere’s sexual depravity) backstory. They discover Pitlor came from the Chessani lodge, the family’s branded spiritual sect that crossed paths with her father’s fledgling movement. After divulging Caspere’s picture and their investigation, her father completes the circle with a hippie flashback picture of the wicked trifecta–another bad avocado, but re-stated in quite a stark yin and yang way–revealing what was obscured but obscuring what will be revealed. Continuing with the drama’s unfolding, we’re now seeing the intertwining histories mainlined to the present and inevitable future.
Velcoro and Bez track down Caspere’s former movements in vast tracts of land contaminated with various metal pollutants, as Velcoro hands Bez a determinism her state investigation won’t change–money and how the hand holds it. Bad land with the glint of a high-speed silver bullet cutting through it makes it badder, and they need a hangman as DaVinci’s dynasty follows through with its century old logical conclusion.
The dark pair of eyes grow darker as they follow Frank. The worse self is becoming his best self as he strongarms old associates to keep from bottoming out and continuing the series’ deep theme. We even watch Velcoro’s inner light tested under Frank’s shadow as Frank tries to lip him out of being a cop and into his fold. Frank’s recidivism is humming with current as he nails his fate to the retrofitted nightclub.
Woodrugh (Taylor Kitsch) is accosted by journalists for his secret part in a black ops expose, but more so by his conscience for sleeping with his former combat lover. But his prost canvassing reveals a hooker that tried to pawn some of Caspere’s trinkets. Another pair of fingerprints is dusted off belonging to a Mexican cartel underling as they track down an infinite omen.
Bez speaks of memories like the figurines staring back at her. How her dead mother tried to buff them to a shine out of driftwood.
For prior Silver Screen Riot True Detective coverage, find archive reviews below:
The Conway Twitty impersonator lip syncing “The Rose” deified by the David Lynchian purple blue nebula, may superficially seem like a cheap dressed up redneck mind-fuck, Lone-Star laced with LSD, as season two intentionally commits a slow suicide into the oblivious junkyard of one-hit wonders; not to mention the trippy and densely codified dialog between Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and his father. But it challenges the audience to lift its eyelids and contemplate a different and deeper sphere of influence. The ditty “The Rose” defines love as a flower, which grows with courage into spring with little sunlight through the bleak winter or, in other words, an endless trial–the song is about change. Read More
The town of DaVinci looks like it’s day, but it’s really night–in other words, it was born in the darkness as it tries for the light. The first scene’s cold tint hangs over like the pallor of a corpse–literally, as Semyon’s (Vince Vaughn) introspection match cuts to Caspere’s melted eyes. Semyon’s abuse story isn’t just significant as a character piece, it’s the unfolding of what’s to come. Read More
Directed by Peter Berg
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana, Alexander Ludwig, Jerry Ferrara
Action, Biography, Drama
It’s a certifiable shame that I didn’t see Lone Survivor a few weeks ago because if I had it surely would have made it into my top five movies of the year. So while I sit here and debate whether or not to amend my list, hold onto it for next year’s crop (it opens wide today, making its inclusion in 2013 or 2014 somewhat debatable) or just silently stew about it, one thing is for certain: Lone Survivor is a great film. And no matter how much I’m kicking myself for not holding off on making my Top Ten List until I saw Lone Survivor (I had a feeling this might happen) I’m certainly glad that it was what it was. And what it was is one of the best war movies out there.
Through the thousands of war movies brought to the big screen, accounts both true to life and inventons of fiction, we’ve learned the genre is inherently difficult to pull off right. Between remaining true to the actual events, creating compelling and rich characters that all get enough screen time to make a lasting impression, and bringing a sense of gravitas and dignity to these often harrowing situation, a lot of efforts belly flop. And for good reason. War films have to be a potpourri of drama and action. We need to care for the fate of these characters and wish their well being. We must, more than anything, be absolutely invested.
This is where Peter Berg ought to stand proud. With Lone Survivor, he’s given us a sense of brotherhood and camaraderie that’s as organic as they come; a far cry from the whitewashed hooah inlaid in many lesser band of brothers films where we only vaguely know the characters crying out for their mamas as their intestines sag from their bellies. And though we don’t spend a tremendous amount of time with each character individually, Berg, as a director and screenwriter both, gives each enough traits for us to identify with them and understand them as people, not just soldiers.
Group leader and celebrated hero Mike Murphy (Taylor Kitsch) debates buying his wife-to-be an expensive Arabian horse as a marriage present. Axe (Ben Foster) reveals he’s a rough-hewn pragmatist willing to make the hard calls. Danny (Emile Hirsch) is no newbie to war but he is very much the baby of the group and his relationship to the others is as earnest as it is heartbreaking.
Ironically enough, it’s Mark Wahlberg‘s lone survivor, Marcus Luttrell, who is the least distinct of them all. While Foster, Kitsch, and Hirsch are busy putting in some of the best performances of their careers, Wahlberg is a step behind. And while he hardly detracts from the overall impact and certainly serves as a suitable hunk of meaty marble for the role, once again he’s the rock from which other actors vault. It’s hard to say whether Wahlberg is just an excellent go-to guy for blander role or if he is just incapable of elevating his character to a place of transcendent complexity, but even here, he’s miles away from proving he’s a “great” actor.
But even more important than the characters, Berg has created a visceral experience unlike any other. As these four brave men find themselves surrounded by death, we feel like we’re right in the shit with them. Bullets fly from behind locales, singing around their heads, sometimes meeting flesh and erupting in red burps, and the sense of confusion is almost as terrifying as the fact that they’re getting shot at and struck. It’s like we’re amongst their ranks when the camera surges back and forth, tracking where the enemy might come from next. Transportative in effect, each scene is so alive with chaos and enveloped in a sense of dread that you’ll be reaching to squeeze the armrest. A series of sequences in which our heroes take a leap of faith is so gut-wrenching that you feel each and every bump and slam they encounter on their way down a mountain side. Truly, there hasn’t been action this game-changing since Stephen Speilberg‘s Saving Private Ryan.
Even if you’re not aware of the true story behind this tale, Berg opens the film with the aftermath of this failed Afghanistan mission. All the men are dead, save for one. But even the fact that the set-up reveals the fate of these frogmen doesn’t diminish the sense of white-knuckle stakes so much as it amplifies them. By expecting their coming demise, we know that life-and-death hangs in the balance of each instance. So as their bodies collect more and more bullets, our jaws hang as we wonder what will materialize as the ultimate deathblow.
Backed up by blinding cinematography from Tobias A. Schliessler and an agonizingly plucky score (a throwback to Berg’s Friday Night Light days) courtesy of a Steve Jablonsky, Explosions in the Sky collaboration, Lone Survivor is the closest equivalent to an artsy war film we’ve seen. Also commendable is Berg’s sensitive attention to “the other.” There is no attempt to stir the crowd into a “fuck the Taliban” frenzy. It doesn’t even feel like us vs. them. It just feels like hell.