Tag Archives: Matthew McConaughey

True Detective

true-detectiveLong before it was a television series, True Detective was the name of an American magazine that specialised in lurid, sensationalised stories of real-life crimes, often told from the point-of-view of the grizzled police veterans who investigated them.

This reference point is important when discussing the television incarnation of True Detective. The central thread and internal mythology of the show – two tough, damaged police detectives, hell-bent on avenging the murder of innocent women and children in the face of considerable official complacency – owes much to the true-crime magazine genre. It’s also been a standard trope in crime fiction since the 1930s.

The eight-part series (and careful, some spoilers follow) begins in Louisiana in the mid-90s. Two police detectives, Marty Hart (Woody Harrelson) and his new partner Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey) are assigned to investigate the murder of a young woman. Particularly shocking are the presence of strange occult symbols on the woman’s body and surrounding crime scene. All we know about the woman is that she was a drifter and a prostitute. With the exception of Marty and Rust, no-one wants to spend too much time and energy finding out what happened to her.

As the investigation proceeds, the detectives begin to link her killing to a string of apparently unrelated disappearances across the huge expanse of rural Louisiana.… Read more

Melbourne International Film Festival: progress report

A couple of weeks ago I posted on the crime movies I was going to catch at the Melbourne International Film Festival. Nearly half way through, here’s my progress report.

First, the bad news. Killer Joe, which I checked out last night. I’m very partial to cinematic tales of money, lust and murder set in the underbelly of rural small town life. Throw in a corrupt lawman who moonlights as a pimp/pusher/contract killer, whatever, and as far as I’m concerned you’re on a winning formula. No matter how many turkeys he’s made, I’ve also got a major reserve of goodwill towards the director, William Friedkin for To Live and Die in LA (1985) and The French Connection (1971).

Killer Joes has all the signposts associated with this sort of movie, down at heel locations, sleazy sex and a criminal plot that quickly spirals out of control. But none of this makes up for the poor performances and a scarcely believable story line.

A small town cop cum contract killer (Matthew McConaughey) is hired by a white trash Texan family to murder their mother for the insurance money. The key conspirator, Chis (Emile Hirsch), scarcely has the brains to tie his own shoelaces let alone instigate a murder plot. When he can’t pay his would be assassin up front as expected, Joe takes Chris’s sister, Dottie (Juno Temple) as collateral and seduces her.… Read more

Crime time at the 2012 Melbourne International Film Festival

Last year’s Melbourne International Film Festival was the best I can remember in terms of bringing global crime cinema to Melbourne. And MIFF 2012 looks like it’s going to be every bit as good. I’m particularly pleased to have received media accreditation to this year’s festival (thank you MIFF), which means I’ll be aiming to see more than my usual quota of cinema.

Here’s what I’ll be catching in terms of crime during the Festival.

Foremost on the list is the 2011 Mexican film Miss Bala (that’s Miss Bullet in Spanish), the story of a 23-year old Tijuana woman who decides to enter a beauty contest in the hope of winning much needed money. Instead, she ends up becoming a drug mule and arms trafficker for a cartel boss called Lino.

Miss Bala is supposedly based on a real incident in 2008, in which the then Miss Sinaloa, Laura Zuniga, was arrested with suspected cartel members in a truck filled with munitions. The lead actress in Miss Bala, newcomer Stephanie Sigman, is reported to be excellent in the role.

I’ve been waiting for ages to see Rampart, directed by Oren Moverman who also did The Messenger in 2009, a hard hitting film about two US marines whose job is to deliver death notices to the loved ones of US service men and women killed in action.… Read more