Critical Condition: True Detective: Night Country

Here’s what critics are saying about True Detective: Night Country, which launches today (SoHo, Neon):

“Remember this crime series? The first was gripping and off-kilter and had Matthew McConaughey at his maddest. The second fell of a cliff, and no one much talked about the third. But now the fourth is here and it’s a return to form … Set during the nocturnal winter in Alaska, it’s like an icier cousin to Mare of Easttown yet with an atmosphere all of its own.” — The Times.

“The fourth season … is both a sharp break from the show’s past and an implicit response to its shortcomings … Mexican filmmaker Issa López takes the reins for a haunting murder mystery set in far northern Alaska … And to share the titular role, López casts a first for the franchise: multiple female leads, in the form of living legend Jodie Foster and boxer-turned-actor Kali Reis. But Night Country doesn’t just tweak the True Detective formula in terms of gender. The six-episode season also takes a notably different approach to the supernatural, a background motif of past installments that here becomes a central theme.” — Variety.

“With an astonishing Jodie Foster in the lead, the fourth season of the detective anthology is spectacular, terrifying and unforgettable … By episode six, a bravura, nerve-shredding conclusion that stands shoulder-square with some of the best hours of TV of recent years, the Night Country will be somewhere you’ll never want to go back to – but somewhere you’ll never forget.” — The Telegraph.

“There are serious societal ills in Lopez’s crosshairs — the continued disappearances and murders of indigenous women in North America, the environmental havoc wreaked on Native communities by unfeeling corporations — which are certainly topics worthy of grafting onto a whodunit in order give it a sense of weight and urgency. But the show does on occasion slip into a didacticism that undermines its effectively creepy, desolate, probing mood.” — Vanity Fair.

“Arctic settings (the season was filmed in Iceland), shot with an emphasis on darkness and vast, empty landscapes, fit hand in glove with eerie horror motifs; close comparisons include John Carpenter’s The Thing and the British series Fortitude, a show that covers some of the same ground as Night Country but in a more diverting, less wearying fashion. López, with help from the cinematographer Florian Hoffmeister, deploys those elements in an atmospheric if convoluted mystery that … steadily dissolves into preposterousness.” — New York Times.

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