Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Watch: James Bond Is Back In First Trailer For 'Spectre' Starring Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, & More Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Terrence Malick's Next Film With Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara & Michael Fassbender Reportedly Gets Titled Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' Watch: Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Bloody And Bruised In First Trailer For Boxing Drama 'Southpaw' New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books New Infographic Lays Out Canonical 'Star Wars' Timeline With Films, TV And Books First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' First Official Image: Jesse Eisenberg As Lex Luthor In 'Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice' Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Watch: First Trailer For Arnold Schwarzenegger's Zombie Pic 'Maggie' With Abigail Breslin Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Idris Elba Replaces Jamie Foxx In Harmony Korine's 'The Trap,' Al Pacino, Robert Pattinson, James Franco Also Join Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut Watch: Explore The Loneliness Of Sofia Coppola's Films With This Supercut 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors 10 Terrible Films Starring Great Actors Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' Watch: Tom Hanks Acts Out His Filmography In 7-Minutes On 'The Late Late Show' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' New Directors/New Films Review: Jia Zhang-ke Produced 'K' Is A New Take On Franz Kafka's 'The Castle' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Viggo Mortensen Reveals He Turned Down Quentin Tarantino's 'The Hateful Eight,' Auditioned For 'Reservoir Dogs' Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” Jonathan Nolan Says His Original Ending To 'Interstellar' Was “Much More Straightforward” The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 Best Of 2014: The 15 Best Movie Soundtracks Of 2014 The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Watch: The Amazing Full 6-Minute Tracking Shot From 'True Detective'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 11, 2014 at 11:20AM

Firstly, if you're not watching HBO's "True Detective," you're doing it wrong. One of the best things going on TV right now — if not the best, period — the drama series has proven to be fantastically written and richly entertaining, with a murder mystery woven across a couple of decades, in a case that continues to haunt the detectives played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. But this past weekend's episode "Who Goes There" (full recap here) kicked things up a notch.
30
True Detective

Firstly, if you're not watching HBO's "True Detective," you're doing it wrong. One of the best things going on TV right now—if not the best, period—the drama series has proven to be fantastically written and richly entertaining, with a murder mystery woven across a couple of decades, in a case that continues to haunt the detectives played by Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. But this past weekend's episode "Who Goes There" (full recap here) kicked things up a notch. *SPOILERS AHEAD*

You likely heard everyone talking about it already, and no doubt, the episode's climactic, six-minute single take shot of the raid on a stash house is a phenomenal feat of filmmaking. Showy? Sure, but it was also a brilliant tool in terms of storytelling. The narrative in the show jumps back and forth through time, with cops Martin and Rust telling their tale in the present, that we see in flashback. And so, the decision to immerse the viewer in that moment, with the cops going "off book" and breaking every rule along the way, brings an immediacy to one of the most defining and dangerous moments in their investigation (so far).

But it was also a highly complex shot, with the action following McConaughey's Rust through two homes, and through the streets of the ghetto, all as action takes place all around him, in the foreground and background, as the detective tries to find safety and bring his contact with him, after a robbery gone wrong. And to hear director Cary Joji Fukunaga describe it, the shot was pure choreography on a grand scale.

"We had ADs [assistant directors] all over the neighborhood because we had to release extras, crowd running background, police cars, stunt drivers. There were actual gun shots and stones being thrown through windows. There were a lot of things to put together," he told MTV. "Even the action, the stunt sequences were complicated. We're working on a television schedule. It isn't like a film where you can spend a lot of time working the stunts out with the actors. We only had a day and a half to get Matthew and everyone else on the same page."

The crew ran through the sequence a full seven times, and once it was in the can, Fukunaga completed a few different versions of the scene, with edit points in case he wanted to cut away to something else. But wisely, he kept the entire shot intact, but only because it worked so well. "The best ones, you don't even realize that they're oners," Fukunaga explained. "They're the most first-person experience you can get in a film."

And I have to admit, the first time I saw the sequence I didn't even realize it was a single take until it was over. And it was only a second viewing where I appreciated the tremendous technical accomplishment of the shot. So, why don't you give it another whirl too? Watch the entire six-minute single take below.

This article is related to: True Detective, Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson, Television, TV News


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome

E-Mail Updates