The union of Farrell and the HBO series feels almost symbiotic in nature. With only one season under its belt, True Detective has proved it has the ability to rejuvenate the career of wayward actors. Just look at what the series did for Matthew McConaughey. Some of us were in on the ground floor when McConaughey started his rise to renewed relevance, with roles in films like Richard Linklater’s Bernie, the darker-than-dark Killer Joe, and the coming of age film Mud. But the general public really took notice of McConnaughey’s career transformation (the McConaissance, as the phenomenon has come to be known) with the one-two punch of Dallas Buyers Club and True Detective.
HBO’s stylish and meditative crime drama became an unlikely sensation with viewers, and it gave people the chance to really see McConnaughey’s brilliance as an actor. And suddenly Fools Gold, Failure to Launch, the shirtless jokes, and everything else we came to associate with the actor fell away. In eight short hours, he became Rust Cohle, waxing poetic about time and flat circles and winning the heart of TV fans everywhere. The same thing can easily happen with Colin Farrell.
There’s no question that Farrell is talented, but his filmography reads like a list of wasted potential. His great films like In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths are nestled between some more unfortunate dreck like the shmaltzy Winter’s Tale, the bland remake of Total Recall, and the dreary Dead Man Down. This lead role in True Detective could be just the shot in the arm that Farrell’s career needs. And since Taylor Kitsch has been Hollywood’s resident blockbuster killer for the past handful of years, maybe True Detective can help him as well.