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True Detective Season 3

10 Mar

True Detective Season 3 — created, written, directed, produced by Nic Pizzolatto. Police Procedural 8 Part TV Series. Color 2019.
★★★★★
The Story: Detective partners can neither solve or shake the case of a little girl who has mysteriously disappeared.
~
With a figure suited to pornography, still at age 46 or so and like many males of his complexion who have stayed in shape, Mahershala Ali can stretch the ages he can play, as he does here, from, let’s say, thirty on the one hand, to let’s say seventy-five.

His success doing this, aside from elaborate makeup upon his heart-shaped face and useful costume changes and wigs, would not happen if some fundamental difference did not arrive in him to change our view of his character and his view of the world.

His character, young, begins as contemptuous and driven. Contempt is achieved by his keeping his eyelids half-closed, eyes averted, in a position of constant dismissal of all about him.

As an old man, those eyelids widen eyes with a wonder almost blind. Contempt gone. As to the drive, the character has arrived at the destination he was driving to when he was thirty, and therefore Ali sees to it that he is just stuck there: he is no longer driving: he is on automatic drive.

All of this works in behalf of the story it illustrates. Mahershala Ali throws in bandier bandy legs when he is older, and he and his partner detective move more creakily. (Actually, old people tend to walk slower not because their joints are stiff so much as they dread to fall down.) Does this interest you? It does me, because as soon as I saw him in Moonlight and The Green Book, I went on a Mahershala Ali bender. Wow! What is this? He mesmerizes one because of the recesses of his focus.

I read a little about him and find that he was once a professional basketball player, which makes me grasp why he is an actor with such perfect aim. Cary Grant started out in show business in the United States by waking on stilts in Coney Island and became an actor renowned for his balance.

The Arkansas State Trooper detective Mahershala Ali plays is unapproachable as a person, but as a professional he is uncanny in his hunches and tracking skills, so he fits right in with Stephen Dorff who plays his detective partner.

Indeed, the Mahershala Ali character is seen largely through the Dorff character’s eyes. Stephen Dorff’s performance has great carrying power in the matter as does the beautiful performance of the beautiful Carmen Ejogo who also distributes Mahershala Ali’s character to us by her response to it as his wife.

As to the story, True Detective adheres to the rubric for high-style detective fiction laid down years ago for our guidance by Raymond Chandler and Arthur Conan Doyle before him that at no point shall we understand anything of what is happening. The plot will supply us with stupefying complexities, and we will continue to watch in the hope, never fulfilled, that all will come to a rational conclusion.

If you watch the new British TV Sherlock you will be treated to the same befuddlement as Doctor Watson’s, therein amplified by a camera, editorial, and narrative eccentricity of a brashness which dazzles as it beguiles.

Quite right too. The suspense of high-style detective fiction consists in the audience being suspended in its own utter stupidity. God exists in the decoration of wisecracks with which Raymond Chandler nails his truth, and without the high style of this décor, this stance, this wicked plasticity, nothing in the story here or there would bewitch, even once Mahershala Ali’s presence has secured one’s place before the screen.

So see it.

It is of the caliber of True Detective Season 1, with its astonishing performance by Matthew McConaughey.

It is 8 episodes, beautifully mounted, in country.

You would never watch a film this long, but it’s not a film this long. Episode-form is a separate form, and narration in episode-form is particular to the form, such that you can do nothing but watch it over days or weeks or years as it comes.

And it has a long, unexpected Lisztian ending. Be patient. No one knew how to end a composition like Franz Liszt.

 
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Posted in ACTING STYLE: AMERICAN REALISTIC, Carmen Ejogo, DETECTIVE STORY, Mahershala Ali, Stephen Dorff

 
 
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