Watch: The Movie References in ‘True Detective’ (Including Some Shockers)

Watch: The Movie References in ‘True Detective’ (Including Some Shockers)

One of the reasons the first season of HBO’s ‘True Detective‘ was so fascinating for so many viewers was that its ambition–shown by the development of the tormented relationship between detectives Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) and Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson), the spiraling exploration of a murder investigation, the multi-layered nature of the narrative–was of a type that, though we wouldn’t necessarily say it out loud, we would typically expect from a film rather than a television show, even in the Golden Age of Television. Decades of historic restraint of narratives on the small screen to fit into a one-hour format can still make television shows like ‘True Detective’ or its "prestige" brethren stand out. So it’s no surprise that the influences collected in this short piece by "Tea and a Movie" range from David Fincher to Jonathan Demme to (oddly enough) Andrei Tarkovsky. The piece highlights yet another part of the show’s allure, and filmic quality: its visuals (thanks to Adam Arkapaw’s cinematography), which might act on the viewer without the viewer’s awareness. Plenty have chatted about various filmmakers’ influence on the series, but seeing these similarities illustrated with such clarity could provoke further examination–where there’s smoke, there’s fire.   

7 thoughts on “Watch: The Movie References in ‘True Detective’ (Including Some Shockers)”

  1. I had a chance to Speak with Arkapaw about the visuals of ‘TD’, and he did say that a lot of the aesthetic was Fincher-inspired, but not in the way that this video communicates. These are generic shots that could’ve been borrowed from anything, but the show’s tone and mies-en-scene, as well as its individual shot-aesthetic is incredobly Fincher-esque. I’m curious to see what the second season is going to feel like, visually, since I’m pretty sure Arkapaw isn’t photographing it.


  2. References? More like very well-worn tropes of the genre. This show wasn’t half as original as many people claimed. Two-shots of detectives? Crouching down to look at evidence? One could make a five-hour supercut of this sh*t, using every CSI episode ever.


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